Ultraviolet Nature Photography
Comparison Dandelion exposures with an ultraviolet "Black" filter.
Normal on left and Ultraviolet on right.
The lens was a single coated Zuiko 55mm f1.2 lens. at f 2.8 on a 7mm extension tube.
Film Type: Tungsten balanced ultraviolet sensitive color film (Fuji RTP 64).
1) Wratten 85 (tungsten light balance)
2) Schott Glass UG1 (B&W Type 403)
Tripod: Bogen 3001 / 3825 head
These two photos were illuminated by electronic flash (OM T10 Ring Flash plus OM T32 on BounceGrip2) at close range as well as bright sunlight on a cloudless Summer day in Southern California.
Both exposures were made at the same aperture ( f 2.8) there appears to be more depth of
field in the ultraviolet image.
Cactus flowers are New World plants and are often fly (Dipteran) pollinated and use foul odors to attract insects.
Comparison photos of the Titan Arum:
Ultraviolet (B/W 403) on Kodak EIR (E6) film left and
no filter, Kodak Gold 200 right.
(The big stinky flower)
This giant flower also emits a foul odor that is used to attract insect pollinators. The odor was definitely
unpleasant (like seriously spoiled foods). In other words, it is not as bad as some types of whale biology, if you know what I mean. It attracted a few flies but mostly people came to see this rare event. During the peak hours the line stretched for miles and it took me four hours to go through !
It was so crowded that there was no room to set up my tripod. I photographed the big flower in two sections because the entire image
would not fit into the frame even though I was using the "portrait" aspect. The Schott UG1/BW403 filter is opaque to visible light so I could not use the viewfinder. I stitched the images together on the computer using Adobe Photoshop LE.
The lens was a single coated Zuiko 55mm f1.2 lens at f1.2 with the B+W 403 Ultraviolet filter. For Ultraviolet photography a single coated lens is preferable to a multicoated lens and an uncoated lens or a quartz lens even better. The venerable, single coated, Zuiko 55mm/1.2 is a good choice of lens for ultraviolet photography because of it's large aperture and the fact that it also fits the Olympus T10 Ring Flash. This Flash Unit is powerful for its size. It emits a short, diffuse pulse of light in all of the wavelengths required.
Film Type: Kodak EIR Infrared Ektachrome (E6) ISO 200 (left photo) and Kodak Gold 200 (C41) ISO 200 (right photo)
The B+W 403 is a Schott Glass UG1 filter and it requires between eight and twenty times as much light as a normal exposure.
Exposure: The OM2S camera was set to 1/30th second. The aperture of the lens was f 1.2 for the UV picture and
f 8 for the Visible light image.
Long wave ultraviolet "black light" illumination aids in the isolation of plasmid DNA intercalated with
fluorescent compound (ethidium bromide).
A UV absorbing filter (Wratten 1 A) was used in addition to the light balancing (Wratten 85) filter to minimize
ultraviolet light to which this Tungsten balanced film (Fuji RTP 64 slide) film is particularly sensitive.
Film Type: Fuji RTP 64 slide film. Filters: W1A + W85 Lens: Zuiko 50 mm f1.4
Comparison exposures of a fluorescent scorpion by visible and ultraviolet
"black light" illumination.
This is an example of UV fluorescence photography.
Ultraviolet illumination was long wave "Black light"(360 nm).
Film Type: Kodak MAX 800.
Filter type: 1) Wratten 1A ("Skylight filter")
The Viola pictures were made at extremely close range with the Olympus T10 Ring Flash at 1/60th second, Aperture F 11 using a reversed, short multicoated zoom lens (Zuiko 35-70mm) f 3.5~4.5
First a photograph was taken with the Wratten 85 color balancing filter. Next
this filter was replaced with the Schott UG1 (B&W 403) filter using a home made back element protector / step up ring adapter and the Ring Flash. Although the ultraviolet "black" filter (B&W 403 requires between eight and twenty times more exposure than the Wratten 85B, the correct exposure was made automatically by the Olympus T10 Ring Flash and the Olympus OM2S program camera.
I think the result would have been more colorful if I had used a lens like a 50 f1.4 or f1.2 on an extension
Comparison Night Heron photographs with Kodak (EIR) Infrared Ektachrome E6 film and fresnel lens projected flash.
The image on the left was taken using a Yellow (Wratten) #12 filter.
The image on the right was made with a Schott Glass UG1 filter.
The ultraviolet transmitting UG1 filter reduces cuts out almost all visible light except for a tiny
amount of red light. The reason the night herons eye is yellow in this photo is because the bright
reflective tapetum lucidum layer underneath the bird's retina is reflecting light from the flash and
the red reflection is recorded as yellow by the Ektachrome Infrared Film.
The hummingbird below was photographed with EIR Film (Kodak Infrared Ektachrome) :
A visually opaque (Wratten) #87 filter gel was used for the red image,
and the Ultraviolet transmitting Schott Glass UG1 filter for the second pseudocolor photograph.
The Zuiko 50mm macro   f 3.5 lens was focussed on the brass rod that supports the feeder. The increased
depth of field is obvious with the shorter wavelengths transmitted by the UG1 filter
Air blanked Spectrum of my Schott UG1 (ultraviolet) filter.
The "Y" (vertical) axis shows the wavelength in nanometers from 900 nm to 200 nm,
the "X" (horizontal) axis shows the per cent transmittance.
Dark red under the small infrared lobe which is centered at 760 nm and purple for the
larger Ultraviolet peak which is centered just beyond 340nm, probably 360 nm.
More Spectra of my Photographic Filters
I made some air blanked Spectra of some of my photographic filters in order to check out a spectrophotometer after it
was overhauled. The didymium glass filter which is also known to photographers as an "Enhancer Filter" was the best
test filter to use because it has a very complex spectrum.
The spectrophotometer was a Beckman DU - 64 equipped with both deuterium and tungsten / halogen light sources so that it could measure wavelengths from 200 nm in the ultraviolet all the way to 900 nm in the infrared.
Polarization works well in both visible and ultraviolet wavelengths. The bee was photographed
with a "cross polarizing" filter & ring flash. Two concentric polarizing filters
with axes of polarization perpendicular in combination with the Schott UG1 ultraviolet filter. The single
coated Zuiko 55mm f1.2 lens was oriented to maximize the darkening of the blue sky background.
My Tiffen brand circular polarizer has a fairly neutral density over most of the visual range.
The spectrum at left shows that the transmittance corresponds to the strong polarization effects obtained in the ultraviolet and rapid fall off in the infrared beyond 800 nanometers!
The Yellow #12 blocks blue and ultraviolet wavelengths. This is a fairly typical
"band pass" or "cut-off" spectrum.
Links to other pages concerning Ultraviolet Photography
Christian Spangenberg - Provided New UV Lens Links:
Since the Nikon 105mm 4.5 UV is no longer made, C.S. found three
manufacturer's web sites for Quartz Ultraviolet Lenses:
Bjorn Rorslett - NÆRFOTO
Ultraviolet Colour Photography
Eliadis Elias' - ART ZONE
WJM's IR & UV
UV Photo - Bob Monaghan
UV Nature and Architecture - Ivan Miksík
Bergquist's FAQ on photographic filters - Lars from Flash Powder days!
UV False Color - The World of Insect Vision by Fumio Yokozawa
Photography Board -
... Sharpen your images! ... a place to find out more about photograpy/imaging.
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