how to make green pictures

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by Bimjo, Apr 18, 2014.

  1. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    How to make green pictures right in the camera. A mini tutorial. And no, I really haven't lost my mind (can't lose what's already gone!).

    This is kinda wordy, so you might want to get something to drink while you read. :)

    So, what the aitch e double hockey sticks am I talking about? Long daytime exposures. No, not a Hoya ND400 long exposure, I mean a loooooooong exposure. Why? To make things disappear.

    Okay, you can spend an obscene amount of cash to buy a filter that will allow you to take a minutes long photo in bright daylight and it will work exceedingly well. You can also spend about $15 and do the same thing with one small caveat- you're going to convert your shots to B&W. Unless you like weirdly tinted pics.

    Having played with a Hoya ND400 (9 stop) filter I wanted something more. I want to make people and cars disappear. And shoot waterfalls in eyeball scorching sunlight. And win the Lotto... wait, that's a different fantasy. ;)

    So, I found some welder's hood replacement lenses on ebay for cheap (got 4 of them for $6, the shipping was more than that). Welding glass comes in shades from 1-15, with 15 being the darkest. Actually, you can get darker, but it's special order/expensive stuff which defeats the purpose of using welder's glass in the first place.

    The glass I got is shade 12, which by my calculation is somewhere around 16 stops of exposure reduction. I'm still playing, so that number may shift later. And it's green. Really, really green. Dark green. It's green, ok? That's why the pics come out of the camera green. The lenses I got are 4.75 x 5.25 inches. I figured I'd get one cut down to fit in a Cokin P filter holder (which I already have). Good idea, ain' tgonna happen. Seems welder's glass is tempered. Tempered glass cannot be cut without shattering. Well, it can, but you have to anneal it in a kiln @ 900° F for a couple of hours and then cool it very slowly so it doesn't shatter. Sensing this is a non-starter?

    So, having failed at cutting it (you know I had to try it anyway- it was only $1.25 already) I figured a water jet cutter would be the deal. So I called a local water jet place and they said... it'll shatter. Bummer. I even found a video online showing a water jet destroying a piece of tempered glass. Phooie, now what?

    I wanted something more permanent and stable than a couple of rubber bands holding the glass to the end of the lens with the petal hood reversed. So I figured I'd glue it to a filter ring. Then I figured I'd use a Cokin P filter holder adapter instead because it has a flange instead of the very narrow normal filter ring. Then I decided to go with a bigger flange and got a Cokin Z filter holder adapter ring. That's got a nice wide flange. I got a 77mm thread adapter ring as that's the largest filter I need for any of my lenses and I can step down to smaller lenses as needed.

    So, here's the goods- one piece of welder's glass and one filter holder adapter ring.

    I used this stuff to glue the two together.

    And then I sprayed Plastidip on the backside to prevent reflections/light leaks. Yes, I know the ring is off-center. It didn't start out that way. Dumbo decided some weight applied would ensure a tight bond between ring and glass, and it did. After it slid first, which I didn't notice until I got back home from an errand 2 hours later. Why Plastidip and not paint? It has a rubbery texture making it easy to hold on to and it will peel right off if you want to remove it later (or if it gets damaged and needs to be removed).

    Ok, enough of the set up stuff, lets see pics!

    I shot this with the Tamron 28-75/2.8 XR Di wide open. Notice that it's directly into the sun. 1/3200 @ f/2.8

    First shot with the welder's glass. Whoa! Now you know how to find light leaks in you lens adapters. :biggrin:

    Well, that's not going to work. I wrapped a piece of Ace bandage around the adapter and it seemed to work pretty well. I may try to find an old bicycle inner tube and cut a chunk wide enough to cover the gaps between camera and adapter and between adapter and lens. Or a rubber band if I'm using Leica M mount lenses. Anyway, with the light leak temporarily solved the pics come out of the camera looking like this- 30 sec @ f/2.8:

    Kinda green, ain't it. Well, I'm sorry to say that even after messing with it in Photoshop it's still green. Perhaps with a custom white balance it might work. I'll have to explore that option. Until then the processed pics look like this:

    If you like shooting B&W though, this thing is killer.

    Forgive the B&W conversion. I don't do it much and need to practice. Remember how I was talking about making things disappear? Notice the wind sock on the left? The wind was blowing around 15 mph and it was moving around quite a bit. Can't even see it in the long exposure pic (well a shadow maybe, but if you hadn't seen the first pic you'd probably never notice).

    So, my experiment works with mixed results. Works great for B&W, not so much for color. If anyone is so inclined I have uploaded the RAW file so you can play along. If you manage to get something approaching a decent color conversion please share your settings so I can steal them. Or, feel free to post up your B&W conversions as well.

    WARNING!! This is a big (15Mb) downoad!
    • Like Like x 4
  2. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    Ooh! Ooh! I'll play!


    I think this about as good as I can get. There was some serious green in that image. What I did:

    1. Open the raw file in Lightroom and use the WB eyedropper on the garage door. That got me about half way there. But the image was still very green, and the tint slider was maxxed out onto the magenta side. So...

    2. Open the resulting jpeg in Photoshop and mess around with the channel mixer until I got something approaching what you see above. Then...

    3. Some miscellaneous adjustments with the hue, saturation, and contrast sliders until I got the end result. Not great. But marginally acceptable.

    I wonder if you shot a Macbeth color chart whether that might help. But I kind of doubt it. My guess is that the welders glass is just waaaaaay too green for a digital sensor to deal with.
  3. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Way better than my effort. I'm thinking this is a "B&W Only" filter for me. ;)
  4. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    I wonder if they make "neutral density" welders glass? :p
  5. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    I looked. Something about the wave length of the UV coming off the weld gets through grey. [shrug]
  6. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Ok, round two. I found a web site web site that told how to use a LED flashlight to set a custom WB and I gave it a shot. When you have the custom WB set the viewfinder has some serious magenta cast, but to seems to work.

    Straight out of the camera. Noticeably less green than the original efforts yesterday.

    And tweaked. Still working on this. I think I can make it look a bit better, but it's useable now.

    Hmmm... this already works great for B&W and I might actually be able to make this useable for color shots. Lots of post processing to get to this point, but it may be worth the effort if you need a long exposure shot only occassionally and can't justify $100+ for a 10 stop ND filter. And this is more than 10 stops easy.
    • Like Like x 3
  7. MAubrey

    MAubrey TalkEmount Top Veteran

    I'm struggling between saying:

    "That's crazy!"


    "That's awesome!"

    I want one.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Yeah, crazy and awesome both. :cool:
  9. chrid

    chrid Super Noob

    May 5, 2014
    mate of mine is a welder wonder if he has some spare glass :cool:
  10. jade_monkey07

    jade_monkey07 TalkEmount Regular

    Dec 24, 2013
    Looks awesome! Iv got some oldschool mad scientist looking welding glasses with round lenses. Got em at princess auto for a few bucks (similar to harbor freight in the usa) Might be worth a shot.

    I dont always drive where others cant. but when I do, its in my Jeep. Stay muddy my friends
  11. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro

    Jan 15, 2013
    These are green because human eye is very sensitive to green and green is still very far from uv. Red would be even more far from uv but eye sensitivity is poor so the density would be much lower.

    Nice to see that other members have got mad ideas too. ;)
    • Like Like x 1