Cameras with Friggin' Lasers! (part duh)

November 29, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

A couple of blog posts ago I was talking about what my next project will be. It is actually more of a mini project. I was definitely not expecting success the first time around. I'll stop short of saying that nothing worked but, as I suspected, things definitely did not work out the way I was envisioning. I did get a couple of shots but I think they are only worthy of blog post shots. Probably not abstract shots worthy of trying to sell, though. It's going to take some continued experimenting.

The set up.

The smoke (before it became a fog bank so dense that San Francisco was calling asking me to give their fog back).

If you have zero idea what I'm talking about and don't want to go back to read the other post; I'll summarize quickly. Take a laser with a special lens that flattens the beam into a line. Take one smoke machine. Turn out the lights. Photograph smoke passing through a thin line of light. You can get some pretty trippy looking abstract images. Bonus! You get a vibrant duotone photo too!

So. Problems? Well, the combination of a lousy flat beam lens and 200mw laser made photographing tricky. The camera was struggling mightily with focusing. I had to crank up the ISO (light sensitivity) to just about the max which made for some rather grainy shots. The smoke machine puts out copious amounts of smoke; to the point that my glasses were fogging up and I could not see squat, even with the lights on. Despite it being near freezing outside the garage became rainforest humid... and hot. I had to open the garage door a couple of times to let the smoke evacuate -- creating the effect my house being on fire as smoke billowed out the garage in huge clouds. Thankfully no one called the fire services.

For next time I'll be making the following changes:
1) Go with the tighter beam spread 45º instead of 60º.
2) Use the blue laser
3) Find a way to mount the blue laser to one of my light stands (couldn't do that with the green laser due to how the power switch works)
4) Crack a window in the garage ;-)
5) Put the camera on a tripod and lock the focus to the beam
6) Go with either the 100mm macro lens or the 70-200mm lens (instead of 24-70mm)
7) Experiment with the 1.4ƒ 50mm lens as well (2.8ƒ may not be fast enough) I can afford the narrow focus plane given the thin beam
8) Keep searching for a properly made Powell Lens (a decent one is not cheap)

Better shots will happen.

Flat green laser beam through smokeFlat green laser beam through smoke Flat green laser beam through smokeFlat green laser beam through smoke

 

 

 


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