Ultraviolet and macro-photography uses light in a new way to make every hidden detail of a specimen or plant visible to the human-eye. There are two different classes of ultraviolet photography, one being UV reflectance and the other UV fluorescence. These imaging techniques are rather peculiar in the photography world and although the photos seem unreal, there is a method behind the madness and photographer, Don Komarechka, has got it down to a T.
The realm of ultraviolet and macro-photography is almost unheard of, thanks to its intimidating appearance. You may think that capturing such intensely lit photos is expensive, but you can’t put a price on the advantage you’ll have over others. Besides, the equipment isn’t as vital as the camera modification you’ll need when reaching these otherworldly images. If you are serious about getting into this field, be prepared to dish out $500 for each flash modification. Ok, ok Seems like a big number at first, but it’s around the same as purchasing a good lens. Also, the magical photos you’ll be getting out of it is worth the splurge.
This area of photography requires you to work with high voltage equipment, so for your sake, be up to date on the how-to’s before you start flashing away.
The most important of the two techniques is, UV reflectance, since it’s so useful in nature. This type of photography utilizes UV light (the sun or if you have, UV flashes). Komarechka explained, that, “you’ll need a modified camera (full spectrum sensor conversion) and filters in front of the lens that only allow UV light to pass through.” The bulls-eye pattern depicted in the image to the left is something you never thought was apart of a sunflower’s exterior, but through the UV reflectance technique, it’s as clear as day. Interestingly enough, this pattern acts as a landing field for pollinators.
The second technique, UV fluorescence, calls for 100% pure uncontaminated UV-light to saturate the subject. The degree of intensity is important and to your surprise, UV fluorescence photography is best captured through a regular unmodified camera. Through the process you are sure to see nature in a whole new light. This type of photography purposefully draws out UV-light making everything glow through the subjects natural fluorescence. Yes, that’s right: natural. “This is where I have an unmodified camera and UV lights, so the camera collects visible light that has fluoresced off the subject. This cannot exist in nature, because there is no natural UV-only light source”, Komarechka explained.
In full, this photography is delicate and the outcome is sacred and downright intriguing. What could be cooler than being able to make earthly components look supernatural, and alien-like? With skills like these under your belt, you are guaranteed to be the odd-ball out. Ultraviolet and macro-photography, may just be the perfect remedy when trying to liven up your portfolio. With that being said, it’s worth a go.
All photos below are taken with the magic technique that is: UV Fluorescence.