Tasmanian Bull Kelp and UV

Left –  Ultraviolet A (image turned to Black and White)                                       Right – Visible Light

Tasmanian Bull Kelp is amazingly bright in photographs taken with a UV adapted camera. It’s not fluorescence, because it doesn’t glow in visible light.  The above image on the left is with only a UV A (or Near-Ultraviolet) filter.  This mimics what fish, birds, and some insects can see in addition to what we see.  They have a 4th receptor that picks up UV.  They can certainly see the difference between a wet rock and kelp!  We obviously can’t (image on left).  How helpful when hunting prey.  In the UV photo the wispy swirls around the rock are not blurry waves caused by the long exposure, but the kelp submerged under water.  It literally glows. Click to see a high-res image of this. Both exposures are in the range of a minute or so. Lots of material to work with here. The effect is so powerful and sharp, it is hard to blend in. [BTW, Tasmanian Bull Kelp can be purchased to eat. $31.00 a kilo from Affordable Wholefoods. Maybe you can gain some luminescence!]

For the photo geeks, I was hoping that my digital UV setup would mimic antique photography where the sky in landscape photos would all wash out, just like the ones in the 19th century when emulsions were very UV sensitive and the sky would just be white.  That isn’t the case with this UV A filter (320 to 385nm).  I need to be smarter in the physics of photography.  This setup reproduces skies very similar to infrared. Maybe antique photo processes are picking up UV B….

And I never knew that Muybridge did sky-replacement on his landscapes.  The original shots usually have no skies; they were washed out.  He, like most of the other famous landscape photographers at that time,  had a huge library of just sky photos and he pasted them into his landscapes to give the sense of sky and clouds. What do purists say about that?  These first guys were doing classic gin-mill Photoshop crap. I love life.

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