Saturday, November 10, 2007

Little Magic


A strange and wonderful thing happened today in Jefferson City, as I was photographing at a prayer luncheon. At 1/640th the fluorescent lights took on a life of their own, and my frames were stripped with orange and blueish-green. In this frame, the light became warm all around this woman, and I'm going to consider it a happy accident. At other exposures, you can see the pattern of the ceiling tiles, but I like the softness of this light much better. So there can be magic under fluorescent lights! This is an ongoing story, and much, much more will come later.

*Update* Parker: these are some other frames:

5 comments:

Z.T. Siebert said...

it was jesus making your photos look supernatural. this is great.

ParkerMB said...

that sounds really neat/frustrating. can you put up another shot that shows this effect?

Hermes28 said...

Zach's right! It's Jesus Light!!!!

ParkerMB said...

wow, that's so interesting. i wonder, scientifically, if there is anything to learn from this. thanks for the update.

wcb said...

Here is an excerpt from Howstuffworks.com. If you would like to read this quote in its complete context: http://home.howstuffworks.com/fluorescent-lamp6.htm

Based on this I think you were catching the flicker of the lamps causing the difference in the exposures. Pretty cool.

"A ballast can only slow down changes in current -- it can't stop them. But the alternating current powering a fluorescent light is constantly reversing itself, so the ballast only has to inhibit increasing current in a particular direction for a short amount of time. Check out this site for more information on this process.

Magnetic ballasts modulate electrical current at a relatively low cycle rate, which can cause a noticeable flicker. Magnetic ballasts may also vibrate at a low frequency. This is the source of the audible humming sound people associate with fluorescent lamps.

Modern ballast designs use advanced electronics to more precisely regulate the current flowing through the electrical circuit. Since they use a higher cycle rate, you don't generally notice a flicker or humming noise coming from an electronic ballast. Different lamps require specialized ballasts designed to maintain the specific voltage and current levels needed for varying tube designs."