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  1. #1

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    UV light, anyone know the actual wavelengths?

    Hi,

    I want to build a simple light box to have a go at some alternative processes. Living as I do in the UK natural light is a bit... unpredictable :rolleyes:

    I am starting off with simple cyanotypes and salt prints. This has been quite succesful, but I'd like a bit more consistancy and control.

    I am lucky enough to have a laser power meter which measures light intensity at various wavelengths, so I can meter up various types of UV light sources and also measure the light passed or absorbed by various diffusers, which should make life a lot easier.

    There is are obviously a lot of different sources of UV available for different purposes. The tubes used in sunbeds are quite different to the ones I use in my fishpond water purifier - and both are very different to a Disco 'Black Light' effect.

    But... can anyone tell me which wavelengths or range of wavelengths we are looking for? Sunlight obviously contains a wide mix which will change depending on latitude, time of day, condition of the sky. I have already discovered that the amount of clouds in the sky can affect contrast.

    I haven't yet found any information on sensitivity of alternative photo chemical processes that discusses specific wavelengths, though.

    Can anyone point me to any information on this? Thanks.
    Steve

  2. #2
    Joe Lipka's Avatar
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    Try this link from Ed Buffaloe's Unblinking Eye web site.

    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Light/light.html
    Two New Projects! Light on China - 07/13/2014

    www.joelipkaphoto.com

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    http://blog.joelipkaphoto.com/

  3. #3
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Not sure of actual wavelengths but I used to use a portable UV sun lamp for exposing screen printing emulsion.

    This is a potassium dichromate emulsion, similar to the gum bichromate process so I assume these lights would work with that.



    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Lipka View Post
    Try this link from Ed Buffaloe's Unblinking Eye web site.

    http://unblinkingeye.com/Articles/Light/light.html

    That's an excellent article with everything I needed to know, Thanks.

    Basically, Ed recommends 365 nm as the 'ideal' for most alternative processes such as gum, carbon, cyanotype etc, but sources that peak at 420 nm (approaching the visible blue end of the spectrum) may be better for Palladium/ Platinum, Van Dyke or kallitypes. Also, he tells us that for a given process the longer wavelengths may give more contrast.

    Fascinating!

    I can go and measure a few light sources now and see what I can come up with
    Steve

  5. #5

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    "Black light" bulbs peak at about 360nm. Suntan fluorescents peak at a somewhat shorter wavelength (I don't know the number). Iron based processes have a broad peak sensitivity at about 350nm, extending into the blue. The best match is the 360BL or 350BL unfiltered fluorescent lamps, but filtered fluorescent and suntan lamps will work well. Blue fluorescents will also work, with a bit less speed, but they are more expensive and harder to find than the UV bulbs. In any case, make sure you use the same type and make for all the bulbs in your exposure unit. The output of different kinds of bulbs varies a lot.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by steven_e007 View Post
    That's an excellent article with everything I needed to know, Thanks.

    Basically, Ed recommends 365 nm as the 'ideal' for most alternative processes such as gum, carbon, cyanotype etc, but sources that peak at 420 nm (approaching the visible blue end of the spectrum) may be better for Palladium/ Platinum, Van Dyke or kallitypes. Also, he tells us that for a given process the longer wavelengths may give more contrast.

    Fascinating!

    I can go and measure a few light sources now and see what I can come up with
    Thanks for the kind comments about the article. However, I am going to add that a fellow named Sandy King, not Ed, is the author of the article. Ed is a real nice fellow and gave Sandy the opportunity to place the piece on his site, but Sandy is 100% responsible for the content.

    Sandy King



 

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