Tri-X anomaly in photographing nukes in the 1950's

Discussion in 'Exposure Discussion' started by vceinc01, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. vceinc01

    vceinc01 Member

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    I have been working on a project for a few years now in researching atomic testing photography from the 1950s and 1960s. There is a certain type of photography done on a camera called the Rapatronic which was developed by EG&G (Doc Edgerton's company). The Rapatronic took single shots. Two type of rapatronic cameras were developed. The original camera which has a basic exposure of 4µsec photographs the image onto a 3x4 glass plate. The newer Rapatronic (developed in 1956-1957) had a basic exposure of 5µsec and was imaged on 3x4 sheet film.

    On all of the sheet film negatives, there are additional images of what looks like what is called a "corona discharge" or similar to krilian photography around the blast. I believe this is in the UV range and if photographed in color, would be bluish purple. However, this additional imagery shows up only on the sheet film at 5µsec exposure whereas the same image, shot with the same focal length lens, same film type (Tri-X) on glass and NO FILTRATION on either, does not show this anomaly at all. Not even a hint of it.

    Is it possible that the Tri-X sheet film and Tri-X glass plate react to images and spectrum differently, especially in the UV range that would explain why anomaly shows up on one but not the other. Is the difference between a 4µsec and 5µsec exposure that great? Maybe 1/3 of a stop difference? Any thoughts?
     
  2. TimmyMac

    TimmyMac Subscriber

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    Is there some wavelength at which the plastic film base might fluoresce but glass doesn't? I can't think of many reasons why plate vs film would behave differently with the same emulsion.
     
  3. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    That is why my photo of Elvis did not come out right. His Star Power causing a corona discharge. I feel better now.
    I wonder if Tri-X on glass is exactly the same chemistry as on film.
     
  4. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    Can you post links to the example images? Doc Edgerton did not notice this or comment on it?
     
  5. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Let's see a photo of this kirlian effect on the tri-x sheet film. Lacking that, it could be the film holders picking up some EMP and fogging film if the sheet film used a different film holder material than the plate film?
     
  6. vceinc01

    vceinc01 Member

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    I read that glass optics absorb UV light below about 300 nm whereas the shortest wavelength that can be recorded in a conventional photographic emulsion is about 250 nanometers because the gelatin in the emulsion absorbs any ultraviolet radiation. I also read that a thinner emulsion is more sensitive to UV then a thicker emulsion coating.
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    With my limited knowledge that is about all I could possible contribute as well.

    Sounds like an interesting research project.
     
  8. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I read last night about a german satellite detector lens. It uses liquid hydrogen and when hit by a tiny intense light , boils and emits image on film. I think fluorescense can be an answer which used at detecting living gems on living tissues with better visibility.
    And I dont think glass plate was tri x ! No reason to hassle at kodak to coat glass with tri x ! I think you can get still coated glass plates today and they are better resolution ones than plastic film. It would have lots of advantage to use old emulsions , check our forums to learn more.
     
  9. Mark_S

    Mark_S Member

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    Is it possible that at some wavelengths the anti-halation layer is reflective?
    Much glass is opaque to UV, so it is possible that the UV is filtered by the glass, but reflected back to the emulsion by the sheet film?
     
  10. NedL

    NedL Subscriber

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    maybe not uv? How about gamma rays causing cascades of particles within the plastic?
     
  11. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The light strikes the emulsion surface without passing through the glass or film base, unless the issue is halation, where the light passes through the emulsion and the base and then is reflected onto the back side of the emulsion layer to create a halo. The film/plate's anti-halation backing should minimize such reflections.
     
  12. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I assume static electricity discharge.
     
  13. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    A simpler explanation is the pictures were shot at different fire ball times for post analysis...

    Think the photos of the Soviet czar bomb tests show pronounced electric effects.

    The test bombs were heavily instrumented to validate the designers sums.

    eg the first US 'H' bomb had an predicted yield of 3-7 mega but cause of a bad assumption was in the 12-18 mega range, oops!

    The difference damaged instrumentation (it destroyed a bunker) and contributed to death of a local boat crew.
     
  14. nateo200

    nateo200 Member

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    Slightly off topic maybe but how does radiation from a nuclear bomb or radioactive waste effect film? Lets say I want to go to Chernobyl and want to capture it on film....will it ruin the film fast or slow? I would probably keep the camera in a lead bag along with all my film but just curious...I feel like high speed film would be the first victim but even slower stuff might too....reason I ask is I've always fancied the idea of heading to Chernobyl, its oddly beautiful to me and I'd love to go there with 100 rolls of slide film and maybe a few rolls of higher speed film like Portra 800, Provia 400X, T-Max 3200 (or whatever its called)....I'm pretty far off from even planning this but I didn't find much on the internet...I mean I'd likely bring my DSLR along but I'd definitely need to have some nice slides too. Yeah I know sorta strange place to visit but yeah!
     
  15. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Id pack my lead boxer shorts and not worry about the film.

    The plant will be hot for centuries, they will need to maintain the 'coffin' for a long while, Id not wander about in the local area to plant or down wind plume area.

    Last thing Id worry about was film if it is all black see 1st para above.

    What is wrong with Hiroshima or Nagasaki or 3 mile island?

    Or visiting the hospitals.
     
  16. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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  17. dorff

    dorff Member

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    If radiation levels are low enough for humans to be allowed there, it should be safe enough for medium and slow speed films, too. Remember that natural background radiation is everywhere, including where you are currently. One cannot escape radiation, as it comes from outer space, from the rocks we tread on, from the air we breathe and from within our own bodies. Where radiation levels are measurably above natural background, and can be linked to specific nuclides that originate from man's activities, there is usually some form of monitoring or control implemented. However, that does not mean such radiation is intrinsically more harmful or problematic than natural background radiation from a health or film condition perspective. The best thing you can do to your film is to use it as soon as possible, and to develop it as soon as possible after exposure. Unlike a living thing, a film cannot restore itself after radiation damage. What is fogged will remain so, and due to background radiation, all films will slowly but steadily fog up, whatever we do to prevent it.

    If by Chernobyl you mean the reactor itself, then I think you should find out first what the regulatory restrictions are. If you mean the town and vicinity, then there should not be anything to worry about. Just follow the guidelines and regulations implemented by the authorities. Forget the lead pants nonsense - it is irrational fear not supported by any scientific observation of the past 70 and more years.
     
  18. giannisg2004

    giannisg2004 Member

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    The radiation levels are low enough to not cause direct exposure on the film or cytotoxic effects on your body, but it's highly penetrative, meaning lots of DNA mutations and elevated (probably magnitudes) long term risk of any type of cancers and neoplasms.
    Also, the effect is cumulative, the longer you stay, the worse.

    I'm also intrigued by Chernobyl, but can't risk it right now.
    If you're over 60 though, what the hell, go for it, you don't have another 30 or 40 years of mutations to accumulate, you can indulge yourself into some risk.
     
  19. Copyhat

    Copyhat Member

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    Do you have any sources on that? The town of Pripyat should be safe; all the short-lived isotopes have decayed a long time ago and background radiation doesn't exceed 1 microsievert. One whole sievert has a stochastic effect of increasing cancer risk by 5.5%. You are more at risk if you enter a hospital.

    Sent from my LG-D802 using Tapatalk
     
  20. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12925041

    make sure you can get a permit, there may be other excitement in the Ukraine as well so photogs may not be favored.

    radiation damage is like global warming you don't need either as the effects are impossible to predict but won't be good.

    Normally you get to wear a film badge in reactor areas but they only monitor general background exposure there are lots of local hot spots miles away from bits of reactor fabric the big bits won't have stayed up for long you breath in or ingest one you are dead, your badge and film might be ok.

    It was a very powerful explosion makes the Ja reactor problem look like bonsi tea party.

    I should not have teased about the lead underwear a full NBC suit is more desirable.
     
  21. giannisg2004

    giannisg2004 Member

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    Oh, the town?
    The town is probably safe.
    The iodine products are long gone (the have a half life of a week more or less), and the caesium products are much less harmful, as they're reaching their half-life after almost thirty years.
    Also, intensity falls rapidly with distance.
    In the town, I'd be surprised if the radiation level is more than 2-3 times the background levels.

    I thought he was talking about the ruins around the plant.
    The radiation there is ~400 mGy/hour, while the global average is ~0.5-5 mGy/hour (well, since I can't test this data, take it with a grain of salt, other reports might differ a bit).
    The difference is not as huge as it sounds, but it's still ~10 times the safety levels for humans. Of course it's far from lethal, but why go through this and increase the free radicals in your body?
     
  22. vceinc01

    vceinc01 Member

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    additional info about anamoly

    As I mentioned before, a strange almost kirilian-like form appears in one image but not the other. Both are photographed at the same time, of the same event, with the same focal length lens AND both are on Tri-X emulsion. I don't want to post the image but if you would like to see it, send me your email address and I will send you the images. My email is vceinc (at) aol (dot) com.

    One is a 4x5 sheet film whereas the other is a 4x5 glass plate but both are considered Tri-X. My question is whether there are other differences between the two Tri-X films beside the fact that one is on glass and the other is on film. For instance, is there more gelatin on the emulsion of the glass plate? This would possibly absorb the UV more than the film if true. What are the halation differences between a glass plate and a film plate?
     
  23. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Glass plates due to their thickness (would) have much more pronounced (larger) halos.
     
  24. vceinc01

    vceinc01 Member

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    I've studied this a little more now. I was wrong about the stock. I believe the camera and or lens itself is responsible for the kirilian-type of anomoly. I still believe the the kirilian-type of effect is in the UV spectrum (its not true kirilian because that isn't imaged through a camera lens, its a contact effect). The issue I believe now relates to the camera, lens or something there about. The explosion creates this effect in UV, but most cameras see the UV as a very soft blur around the explosion. This camera, however, sees this effect as a sharp artifact, not a blur, even when the explosion is sharp, there is usually a soft blur around the explosion from other cameras, i.e. the UV doesn't focus under normal circumstances. The only thing I can think of is that the optical system or Artar lens it uses must have a quartz component in some way which, I've heard, allows the UV to be imaged better, sharper UV image vs. soft blur. Is this possible? Its a 480mm Artar lens with an exposure around 4-5 micro seconds (optical shutter, not mechanical). This optical shutter consists of a piece of "flint glass" which polarizes with a charge and can make an exposure in this range.