What to do with flourescent lights

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by Jeremy, Sep 21, 2006.

  1. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    In my studio the main lighting comes from a bank of flourescent lights and as I want to start alt printing in there next week I'm wondering what the best course of action is:

    1. Do you suggest just getting a couple of incandescent floor lamps? This would normally be my choice, but I also only have 4 outlets (2 sets of 2) in the room and prefer not to load up a surge protector on each one.

    2. I've heard about sheaths for flourescent lights which block out the UV, has anyone had any experience with these?

    3. The last option would be to buy flourescent lights which don't put out any UV, but this seems to be the most expensive option.
     
  2. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

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    Look into track lighting Jer, I use this in my darkroom, the bulbs I use are incandescent and have a uv block coating over them as well. I've had no issues with fogging or the like.
     
  3. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    Robert, will I be able to plug them into a regular outlet? The problem with anything that I have to hardwire is that I'm not in my "own" studio/darkroom, but am in a graduate student studio on campus--it's "mine," but there's a limit to what they'll let me do.
     
  4. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

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    I worked in a lab that used UV sensitive photo masking for electronics. They used flourescent lights with yellow filters. I don't remember if it was just yellow tubes (bug lights) or covers, but it was yellow in there. Weird thing was that when you came out of the room, everything was pink. Maybe some strong yellow lighting gels from Lee or Rosco would do the job. Or bug light tubes.

    Check this out:

    http://www.rosco.com/includes/technotes/filters/Rosco_SLEEVES.pdf
     
  5. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I recently met a photography professor who teaches alt processes at the University of North Florida. I was very surprised to learn that she has her students coat Van Dyke and cyanotype and salt prints in the classroom under the regular flourescent lights. She said she's never had a problem. I've seen some of the student work, and I don't see any sign of fogging. Maybe we have been overconcerned about flourescents.
    juan
     
  6. rwyoung

    rwyoung Member

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    As an experiment I used a "daylight 5500k" spiral fluorescent, 100W equivalent, placed 8" from some cyanotype (traditional two part formula, not M. Ware's type II) and a 4x5 negative. After one hour I was just beginning to get a recognizable exposure.

    So, this suggests to me that for the GE branded 5500k bulb, its UV coating was pretty good. I would have little concern about using such a bulb at 6 to 8 feet in the overhead fixture for the 10 to 20 minutes I'd need to mix and coat cyanotype sheets.

    That said, I still plan to test for fogging by mixing the chem under my standard safelight and coat one sheet. The put that sheet in a dark place, switch bulbs and coat a second sheet. Both would dry in the same dark place for the same amount of time (minus the time to change lights and coat the second sheet). Then I'd do something akin to the standard safelight fogging test for photo paper. Use a large, light proof object, a half dollar perhaps. Tearing each sheet into four or six pieces I could test in 15 or 10 minute intervals with the fluorescent room lights on with exposures upto one hour.

    With the Mark I eyeball, I expect to see little or no fogging at up to 30 minutes with either paper. A reflection densitometer might tell a slightly different story though. Except that I've never used a reflection densitometer to look at watercolor paper so no idea of the paper texture will foul it up.

    Should be interesting none-the-less.
     
  7. photomc

    photomc Member

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    Jeremy, I have one of the circular fluorecent lights in my DR (bad planning) and do plan to replace it with a bare bulb this winter but must admit have not had any problems with fog. But to qualify, I do coat, then hang the paper to dry, then turn the lights off while drying. Not the cheapest place but LightImpressions sells those selevs you describe.

    On a side note: while I was in the service we wanted to see how good the UV light we used under a hood was so we plated some organisms on some media, cut some openings in the cover plate and placed the whole thing under the UV light (probably 3 - 4 feet). The bacteria that was exposed to the UV light directly (via the cut out areas) was killed, but the bugs that were covered by the plasitc grew quite well (we used a 30 min dose of UV IIRC)
     
  8. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    we turn off the overhead fluorecent lights, and turn on the light table, which is good sized but not overy bright.