- Term: Ultraviolet photography
Description: Ultraviolet photography, or UV photography, is a type of photography that only captures light from the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum.
What Is Ultraviolet Photography?Ultraviolet (UV) photography is a very unique form of photography. UV photos are often used for scientific or medical purposes, but many artists also dabble in UV photography since it requires recording only images from the UV spectrum; this part of the spectrum is invisible to human eyes, since humans can only see color and light on a certain spectrum, dubbed “visible light."
It might be a surprise to know that sunlight is also an ultraviolet radiation source, but it can depend on many various atmospheric conditions. An electronic flash can also provide UV light, and there are now UV-LEDs available. One of the reasons UV photography is popular in the medical field is that it can reveal deterioration of specific structures that wouldn’t be visible under normal light (like skin, for example). Ultraviolet film photography is also utilized for forensic purposes.
Ultraviolet Film Photography HistoryUV radiation has been studied for centuries, and it has been used in court evidence as far back as 1934. The photographs can reveal bruises or scars that would normally not be visible, which is one reason it began being used. The UV photography has been used in court cases ever since. The dark spots in ultraviolet film photography are also caused by the sun, which helps dermatologists identify sun damage. Also, UV photography can be used to identify counterfeit documents. Many photographers also use ultraviolet film photography to capture new perspectives of flowers, animals, plants, and landscapes.
How To Take UV PhotosIf you are interested in ultraviolet photography, then you will need to make several decisions. First and foremost, do you plan on taking photos using an analog camera or digital camera? Some modern photographers prefer digital photography, and there are some that understand how to take UV photos using both methods. If you decide on using film photography, you should also decide between black-and-white photography or color photography.
There are two main types of ultraviolet film photography. The first method involves reflectance, which means taking photos with a light source that contains UV light. This particular technique does require a camera modification of some kind. The second method is UV fluorescence, and it’s possible to take UV photos of this kind without a modified camera.
Different FiltersMany modern UV photography filters can help those that are interested in learning how to take UV photos. Some photographers opt for sandwich-type filters that involve joining ionic glass together. This not only allows ultraviolet radiation to be transmitted, but it can also block infrared radiation.
Some photographers take UV photos with combination dielectric and ionic filters, and they are widely considered to be one of the best filters when it comes to understanding how to take UV photos. These filters include a single layer of ionic glass, but there are different coatings on the filter. A third option is to use an interference filter, which utilizes both dielectric coatings that transmit UV light.
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