Getting Started With Ultraviolet Fluorescence Photography (UVIVF)

hi guys im Ben from Adaptalux and
today we’re talking about UV photography specifically UV induced visible
fluorescence photography or UVIVF now it’s really really interesting so today
we’re gonna break down what it is and how to do it. So today’s video we’re actually
going to split into two parts the first part this part we’re gonna be talking
about what UV photography actually is and what visible fluorescence is the
second part which I’ll link up on the top of the screen now in case you just
want to skip to there how to I also put it in the description we’ll be talking
about exactly how to do it so we will be going through a setup and showing you
how to get shots like the ones that you’ve just seen you’ve probably heard
of UV photography before but what you might not realize is that there’s
actually two completely different types that go underneath that banner of UV
photography we’ll be taking a look at both of them because it’s important to
understand there the difference is they require completely different techniques
and equipment and if you’re talking about UV photography to somebody they
could have a completely different image in their head of what you’re talking
about so let’s break down the differences between the two different
types the first type is reflected UV photography so the way that this works
is that you need a full-spectrum light source like the Sun or a modified flash
that produces UV light you can then shine this at a subject for example a
person and the light will be reflected back into the camera like if normally
would be the difference then is that you put a filter in front of the camera to
block out all of the visible light and you modify your camera so that it’s able
to capture only the UV light this is why when you see reflected UV images they’re
always in black and white because there’s no there’s no colors there to
capture now this isn’t the type that we’re going to be talking about today
but it’s important to make that distinction that this type of
photography requires camera modifications and a different set of
equipment to to capture than the induced visible fluorescence UV
photography that we’re going to be looking at today ultraviolet induced
visible fluorescence photography it’s a bit of a mouthful but it’s it’s
important to understand the differences between this style and the the reflected
style the difference here is that we’re still capturing visible light we’re just
using UV light in order to create the visible light I can give you a quick
demo here using tonic water which actually fluoresces is really well under
UV light but you might be thinking why do things
like tonic water actually glow under UV light to understand that we’re going to
need to take a look at the electromagnetic spectrum you’ll probably
remember this from science class in school what we’re essentially looking at here is
everything from gamma rays through to radio waves it’s all classed as a form
of radiation including visible light visible light is the bit that we’re
interested in in photography most of the time but when you get to the fringes of
what our eyes can actually see it starts to blur the lines a little bit
and some cameras can see infrared and UV as well and people make specialist
cameras that go even further than that that’s exactly what an x-ray is in in
the hospital if you’ve ever broken your leg or something like that so it’s much
easier to think about all of this as a single form of radiation it’s not
visible light versus UV light is it’s a very similar thing the only difference
is that the the wavelength of UV light is a little bit shorter than that of
blue or violet its nearest visible neighbors fluorescence is actually
caused by a shift in that wavelength as light is absorbed into a material or
object and then it’s re-emitted again the reason for this is because when
an energetic photon hits an object it’s going to be absorbed and then it’s gonna
get emitted again now this process of light being absorbed and then re-emitted
is not perfectly efficient so a little bit of energy is lost there so when you
look at UV light which is more energetic than visible light that is absorbed into
objects pretty regularly and depending on the chemical makeup of the object a
certain amount of energy is lost now that energy that is lost is the
difference between the UV light and then the color that is produced by that
particular chemical when exposed to UV light so certain objects will show up as
different colors our our tonic water shows up as blue because of the Quinnie
inside of it and if you then go and look at highlighter pens and certain
types of plastics those are specifically designed with chemicals inside them that
glow a certain color under light and UV light so there’s your faux science-y very quick explanation to what UV fluorescence actually is but what does
that mean for photography it essentially means that we can expose objects to
UV light and they will glow in the visible spectrum which is what our our
cameras tend to to be able to to capture so this means that we don’t need any
modifications or extra filters to our our actual camera because we’re just
capturing admittedly quite low levels of visible light
we can take a quick look at one of the pictures that we’ve taken using UVIVF
techniques this is a shot of a garden spider it’s brown and it’s creepy and I
hate it but we decided to go into the garden and take this shot and you can
see that when exposed to UV light different parts of the spider are
actually different colors and now this is because of the the chemical makeup in
the spider is actually it’s different in certain places and there’s lots of
reasons for this including like the spider wants to be seen to have eyes on
its back and things like this to get rid of predators but you’ll see that the the
eyes are showing up red the head is red and it’s just the different chemical
makeup within within the spider itself that’s causing this and this can be seen
in a lot of different objects and subjects that we can find around the
place most things especially living things will have a certain amount of
fluorescence capability you can shine UV on to a lot of plants petals and
particularly pollen they all glow glow really really well under UV light
you’ve also no doubt seen a lot of images and maybe even video where people
have been supplementing their UV photography using highly fluorescent
chemicals and materials things like paints and dusts you can use those to
create some really interesting effects it’s almost a sub-sect of UVIVF
photography in itself because those because those materials are so so
fluorescent you don’t need to practice a lot of the techniques that we’ll be
looking at in a little while as primarily a macro photographer the
part of UV fluorescence photography that I’m interested in is actually the the
purity so what do I mean by that a lot of these black lights and Cheaper UV
light sources that you find around the place in in sort of LED torches and and
fluorescent bulbs and things like this they produce a lot of visible light as
well as UV so this will be fine for highly fluorescent materials like the
like the quinine in our tonic water that will glow even if there’s a visible
light there as well because the the UV will manage to overpower it when we’re
talking about taking fluorescence photographs of say flowers or insects
like our spider there’s a big consideration there that even the
smallest amount of visible light will actually overpower the fluorescence of
the subject and you’ll be able to identify this as a blue purpley violet
hue over your images if you’re using a less than perfect light source how do we
get a pure UV light source it’s probably the first hurdle that you’re going to
come up against when you start thinking about UV fluorescence photography it’s
certainly one of the most important factors because if your light source is
introducing visible light as well as UV then that visible light is going to
easily overpower the fluorescence of the subject of your shooting we’ve got a
couple of ways around this though using different types of equipment before I
mention that though we need to talk about eye protection UV light can be
harmful to your eyes either over an expended extended period of time or in
short bursts of intensity either way you’re going to want to reduce the
amount of UV light that reaches your eyes my glasses have a UV coating on
them which is pretty handy but you guys are going to need some eye protection as
well you can get UV protective glasses for a couple of
pounds a couple of dollars online and if all else fails you can wear your
sunglasses because that’s exactly what their design for is cussing out UV light
from the Sun so those are work just fine now the equipment that I’m going to be
using today is the Adaptalux Studio with our UV lighting arms which you’ll
notice have a little purple end here and there’s a couple of other more
interesting details as well differences to our normal lighting arms you’ll see
that I’ve just put this in here and there’s nothing happened and that’s
because the only light passing out of the end of this lighting arm is UV and
that’s by design that’s because it’s a pure UV light source there’s a UV LED in
the end of here well that still creates a little bit of visible light the same
as it would if you found it in an LED torch for example a UV LED torch the
difference here is that we then have a bandpass filter in the end as well and
now this to our eyes looks completely black because there’s no visible light
allowed to pass through this filter at all
so it’s blocking out all of the visible light and only allowing UV to pass
through which is exactly what we need for a pure UV light source our other
option if you need a little bit more intensity maybe it still comes with some caveats but you can use a flash now there’s plenty of tutorials
out on YouTube and on various blogs and things on how to take apart speed lights
and fit them for pure UV fluorescence photography I’m not gonna go into the
the details of taking apart a flash and how to do that
because I’ve got the Adaptalux Studio to use but you can absolutely do that as
an option I would just caution you that you definitely need to know what you’re
doing before you start taking apart your your speed lights and they do run very
high voltage circuits even though they’re very small and only run on
batteries they store up a lot of power and they can be quite dangerous so
definitely do your research and make sure you know what you’re doing before
you go meddling with your speed lights so I’ve come into my bathroom why well
it’s because this is the darkest room in my house and you’re gonna need to start
eliminating some ambient visible light what’s the point in having a pure UV
light source if you’ve got visible light everywhere else it’s just gonna
contaminate your shot in the same way so you need a dark environment I recommend
finding the darkest room in your house maybe blocking up some windows close the
curtains and things like that or shoot at nighttime because any any amount of
visible ambient light at all is going to contaminate and potentially overpower
the fluorescence from your subject most subjects particularly when you’re
talking about say flowers and insects they don’t fluoresce as much as the
quinine in our tonic water or those fluorescent dyes and things that you see
so you need to do a long exposure to capture what little a visible light is
actually produced by these subjects the subject I’m going to be shooting in the
next video for UV fluorescence is is flowers lilies to be precise now there’s
lots of flowers and plants and things that fluoresce really really nicely it is a
little bit of a case of experimenting grabbing things from around your garden
and putting them under the UV light taking exposure see what it does lilies
actually produce a fair amount they’re not the best but it yeah enough the
reason that I’m shooting them today is because they’re pretty common and they
have a lot of interesting colors that are going to show up in our UV
photographs including all of this pollen around here I’m pretty sure that’s gonna
fluoresce blue while the rest of the leaf will either maintain its color or
have a slightly different hue so it’s going to be really interesting to see
what happens with this when we put it on this some UV light and take a long
exposure that’s exactly what we’re gonna be doing in just a sec in the next video
I’ll link it at the end of this one I’ll link it in the description and I’ll see
you there in just a sec

5 Replies to “Getting Started With Ultraviolet Fluorescence Photography (UVIVF)”

  1. I love your video, but if you don't mind, Your chart list AM and FM. AM and FM is not part of the spectrum. It is actually a mode of operation. VHF [Very High Frequency] and UHF [Ultra High Frequency], UHF also includes the frequencies for TV. would be correctly placed to the left of shortwave which is also known as HF [High Frequency].

  2. I'm taking photos with a ug11, but let it pass a litle of IR. Can you help me on the config of the RAW image? should i delete all the Red Spectrum? is it any parameters i should use on the White balance?

  3. Your video tutorial is fascinating. Can you explain how you designed flexible UV lighting? Can it be purchased?

  4. Great instructional videos and have inspired me to look at UV photography as well as InfraRed with a modified camera at 720nm taking monochrome images. However, please check your spelling of Fluorescence in the video, Agfa managed to miss-spell it in their industrial processes catalogue so it is easily done.

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