Ultraviolet Photography

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by BudgieMad, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. BudgieMad

    BudgieMad TPF Noob!

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    Dear All,

    Here's an odd question that might prove interesting to some.

    We keep Budgies. At the moment we have four of them. In our researches into all things Budgie-related we understand that they see things very differently from humans.

    For one thing they see a flicker-rate of twice that of humans, so much so that they can see the stars and sun move. Consequently, the new energy-saving lightbulbs might appear as a strobing or rapid-lighthouse effect to them. For another, they cannot see a thing in poor or dim light.

    Of greater relevance to Photography Forum is the fact that they can see in Ultraviolet. Their feathers can refract this light in ways that humans cannot see. This has a big effect on courtship and social status for Budgies. The equivalent is how shiny white teeth and healthy skin are seen by humans.

    An example of the sort of effect we are interested in can be found on BBC News by searching for Love Birds Glow Crazy. The article is dated 03 January 2002. Unfortunately, as this is our first post on this forum we are not yet allowed to post links.

    We would like to see photographs of our Budgies as they see themselves. We think it might explain some of their behaviours and relationships. It would be extremely interesting for us to see.

    We know that Ultraviolet cameras exist but we can't seem to find any on the internet. We are not interested in buying such a camera, but we would really like some help in finding out how technically possible is it to photograph Budgies in Ultraviolet Light. We would also be very grateful if we could be directed to anyone who has an Ultraviolet camera and would like to help.

    By the way, if there is anyone interested in helping we live in London (UK).

    I look forward to any replies.

    Many Thanks,

    Paul.
    (BudgieMad)
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Digital cameras are somewhat sensitive to UV and very damn sensitive to IR wavelengths. The problems exist in the filters in front of the sensor. These are primarily designed to block IR wavelengths however they are made of glass.

    That is one of the biggest drawbacks to UV photography as opposed to IR photography. Glass absorbs a considerable amount of UV passing pretty much only the UV-A band. This is why UV filters in the film days were only needed on the beach and snow despite UV being all over the place.

    Some companies designed special lenses which can pass UV light through such as the UV-Nikkor 105mm f/4.5s or the series of Medical-Nikkors designed for forensics (UV shows some wicked bruising on a body).

    That said you may have very limited success capturing the UV-A band using a UV lowpass filter (blocks visible light and IR light). The only problem is that this increases exposure times quite severely as much as 14 stops which would render your budge a massive blur.

    IR photography is hard to do. IR photography properly with modified equipment is even harder and rarer. UV however is almost in a league of it's own making IR photography look like childsplay. Good luck finding anyone with experience in the field. But in reality the colours you see will never accurately represent what they see since the UV light is shifted into the visible spectrum.

    I just did a quick google and found out that the UV reactive plumage of a budge is fluorescent. This means the spots should actually glow visibly if you put them under a UV light. If you want to compare your birds get one of the nightclub bluelights. It may give you quite a good starting example of what spots they use in their courtship routines.
     
  3. Flash Harry

    Flash Harry TPF Noob!

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    Did UV with film years ago, as Garbs says long exposure, ideal for spotting forgeries etc which is the most common use but your budgies need stuffing before you can shoot them with these techniques and I don't suppose this would make you a happy budgie owner. H
     
  4. clanthar

    clanthar TPF Noob!

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    Digital cameras that capture in UV are specially made for law enforcement, etc. Fuji makes one called the IS Pro.

    Joe
     

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