Tungsten and UV Lighting - can you explain the benefits please?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by mark_crame|1, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. Hi, I'm looking at applying for a job as a Police Photographer (not
    scene of crimes) and can put a confident tick in the box of all the
    required skills bar the mention of Ultraviolet and Tungsten lighting.
    My question is really basic, but i'm hoping you can help me on this:

    For what purpose would you use Tungsten light?

    For what purpose would you use Ultraviolet light?

    I don't understand what applications they might be used for
    specifically, or why normal studio lighting would not be the option.
    I *assume* that the UV would be referring to it's qualities in
    showing injuries that had otherwise faded, but any other applications?

    The post also mentions use of both film and digital camera work, so
    please also point out differences in the way they would react to thse
    types of lights if there are any.

    Many thanks,

  2. You probably have experience shooting under tungsten lights - tungsten = household lightbulbs. The filaments inside of lightbulbs are made of a metal called tungsten. So if you've ever used lightbulbs for illumination, you have tungsten experience.

    But you don't have any experience shooting ultraviolet, so leave that out. It's not something that can be condensed into a post. Besides, they're asking about your EXPERIENCE with UV light, not your knowledge. Heck, I know how to fly a plane, but I've never been in the cockpit of one. It's not the same thing.

    I'd be very, VERY surprised if anyone outside of forensic scientists and biologists/botanists had experience with UV photography. If I were the person looking over the applicants, and saw that someone checked the "UV" experience, I'd get suspicious and start asking her/him some questions.

    If you want to play with UV photography, go to a head shop and get a blacklight, and start photographing flourescenting materials using an orange filter in front of your lens (to block out the UV and to capture only the visible light given off by a subject).

    different materials fluorescence at different UV wavelengths. That's why forensic scientists have adjustable UV lamps.

    BTW, did I mention that exposure to UV will make you go blind?
  3. You can get the blacklights at Walmart, you don't have to go to a headshop.

    Exposure to blacklights won't make you go blind, they are safe. For scientific uses, you can also get ultraviolet lamps that produce shortwave ultraviolet, which will damage sight and cause sunburn. But normal blacklights don't do either. For mineralography, some minerals fluoresce under shortwave and not longwave, or have different colors under each one.

    I don't really know what forensic people would use UV photography for. But some things fluoresce that are not visible under normal lighting- for example, rat urine.

    I'd suggest, first off, if you are actually interested in the job, to find a decent book on forensic photography- there probably is one or more out there. Secondly, talk to the people doing the hiring, and find out how critical certain aspects are. If they also don't know why you'd need UV photography experience, it may not be that critical. It may turn out they want someone with a lot of experience in forensic photography- which I would assume involves a lot of record keeping, testimony, etc., and not just snapping pictures.

    By the way, I remember also reading about IR fluorescence- and it being used to read otherwise illegible text on an old letter. The idea is that visible light causes the ink to fluoresce in IF- so you use IR film with opaque filter to capture it. But I don't know how commonly those kind of techniques are actually used.

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