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02-09-2011, 04:15 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by JGB Quote
Too bad I didn't read all these safety tips before shooting pictures of welding, and relative close ups, and longish exposures including the welding arc.
shot both stick and TIG welding being done this way.
I think I remembered to use a a filter once, after I realized my favorite shot of a welder came out from it.

I use a polarizing filter most of the time, I find it really helps with the sky, unfortunately I have just learned I was doing it wrong the whole time(Linear filter I assume because it changes the level of darkness in the sky when I rotate it)

For welding, it seems to work fantastically, giving much better definition.
If using lightroom, I like to bump the clarity up, I find most welding arc shots will take on a bit of a star effect if you do that, and use recovery/fill light to balance some of the difference out.


The bit about spatter etching lenses is very true, I've etched the sapphire crystal of my watch with spatter unfortunately.
I don't know about the whole safety glasses requirement, I shot looking right through my viewfinder, with so many layers of glass, I'm not worried about getting flashed, but I do make sure not to look up.
I've definitely seen the arc with my eye naked a few times in my life, not the best thing to do, but if you're quick it won't hurt physically anyways, it's not that potent. The potential damage from it is certainly dramatically lower than that of a laser, I have had my sensor exposed for up to 1/15th with no filter(other than the lens, which filters UV anyways to a large extent I believe) and no damage yet. I wouldn't try that with a laser, which is visible light spectrum, and much less diffused.

Those lasers are much, much more potent, and focused in a smaller area too.
Sorry, but that's just plain wrong. It is painful, although it can be brief ( 24 hours of eye pain is no fun though ) and it can have lasting effects.

Current medical opinion is that arc eye can dislodge cells on the cornea that become floaters.

The strength / damage might be less than lasers, although they can come with varying strengths so it's difficult to ascertain, but whatever strength the UV and IR rays from welding are, it's well documented and researched that they cause damage.

Like I said though, I was lucky, or my judgement was right on the day, your experiences might be the same.
But it's a danger that demands some respect and shouldn't be disregarded or minimized.

http://www.aws.org/technical/facts/FACT-02.pdf

Safety and Health
Fact Sheet No. 2 October 2003
2003 American Welding Society

02-11-2011, 08:06 AM   #17
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I'm not saying they won't cause damage. Just that you won't feel it, it's not like your eyeballs instantly begin to peel apart if you see a bit of glow around your hand, or reflected off a wall. YES it is not good. But I don't like the way it is presented as though you will instantly injure your eyes painfully seeing any light involved with welding, nor will it damage your sensor as far as I can tell, I believe cameras allow much more IR through than UV, and IR from a laser is much more focused.

It definitely does cause floaters if you do a good enough job of it and stare at a bare arc for enough time. I just don't buy that you'll get it seeing it through a camera lens. Even a pair of good old clear glasses will cut down a huge amount of the UV light.

Case in point, the guy who welded up my bike most recently doesn't even OWN a pair of safety glasses, and he is welding 8-10 hours a day.
Is there risk of damage: yes. Can it be uncomfortable, if you stare right at the arc for too long, yes.
Is it instantly going to melt your eyeballs? No. Should it stop you from shooting the photo you'd like, because of fear of the reflected light? Depends on your tolerance for risk IMO the risks from that are fairly low.

I like both the shots posted in the thread so far!
02-11-2011, 07:50 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by JGB Quote

Case in point, the guy who welded up my bike most recently doesn't even OWN a pair of safety glasses, and he is welding 8-10 hours a day.
That makes my eyes hurt just thinking about it!
02-12-2011, 04:36 PM   #19
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JGB, your experience of arc flash has obviously been very different to mine and the millions of others that have experienced it, you have been extraordinarily lucky.

As for your friend who welds without eye protection, that is stupidity. Nothing else.

02-13-2011, 05:13 PM   #20
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I don't understand why that's the case, but I suppose it must be. I've shot pictures of Tig and Mig welding, and done a good deal of both, as well as holding pieces in places for hours without a shield, though I look away and close my eyes to minimize it.

I can certainly imagine that a direct flash from a mig welder's arc looking at it could be painful, but reflected UV around the viewfinder, and certainly the view of the arc through the lens has yet to bother me. Even regular prescription glasses will cut it to large extent, a camera much more so.


I'm not saying it is not a hazard, and a real risk, just that it is possible to balance precautions with getting the picture you want, understanding that a small amount of reflected UV from walls, or around a viewfinder will not blind you or make your eyes fall out.
Not that it is without risk entirely.


No, in his case it is poverty. Nothing else.

Last edited by JGB; 02-13-2011 at 05:19 PM.
02-14-2011, 04:49 PM   #21
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Anyone that chooses to weld without proper PPE (personal protective equipment) is a fool.
The effects do not have to be immediate, they will accumulate over time. Cataract and skin cancer come to mind. Not to mention respiratory complications from the fumes.
02-14-2011, 05:01 PM   #22
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I didn't even read all the way through this thread because I'm so sure about it.
Welding flash is extremely dangerous to eyes and skin!
Shield yourself from it at all times!
I know someone who is blind in one eye because of exposure to a reflection off a window of a welding ark from a different room!
I have a blind spot myself. Probably from welding flash that leaked up the bottom of my helmet past my face and into my eye.
Welding flash can cause cancer!
Welding smoke can cause cancer!
If you don't know what you're doing...what you're being exposed to, just stay away. I was young and stupid. Now I'm old and busted.
You can't take this stuff seriously enough.

Take care of your self!
02-14-2011, 05:27 PM   #23
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When I crank out up to 350 amps out of a Esab Heliarc 352 for TIG-ing aluminum. I have a #13 glass in the helmet and wear #2 wrap-around sunglasses at the same time to help deal with reflections inside of the helmet. And the after-glow of the tungsten when helmet-up.
Get flashed by something like this and the rest of your day can be ruined.

02-14-2011, 05:50 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
When I crank out up to 350 amps out of a Esab Heliarc 352 for TIG-ing aluminum. I have a #13 glass in the helmet and wear #2 wrap-around sunglasses at the same time to help deal with reflections inside of the helmet. And the after-glow of the tungsten when helmet-up.
Get flashed by something like this and the rest of your day can be ruined.

Totally! Aluminum burns bright!
You get flashed good in the eyes with any ark and even if it didn't do permanent damage, you have a rough night ahead! It feels like you have sand in your eyes and you can't get it out.
02-14-2011, 09:09 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by JGB Quote
I don't understand why that's the case, but I suppose it must be. I've shot pictures of Tig and Mig welding, and done a good deal of both, as well as holding pieces in places for hours without a shield, though I look away and close my eyes to minimize it.

I can certainly imagine that a direct flash from a mig welder's arc looking at it could be painful, but reflected UV around the viewfinder, and certainly the view of the arc through the lens has yet to bother me. Even regular prescription glasses will cut it to large extent, a camera much more so.


I'm not saying it is not a hazard, and a real risk, just that it is possible to balance precautions with getting the picture you want, understanding that a small amount of reflected UV from walls, or around a viewfinder will not blind you or make your eyes fall out.
Not that it is without risk entirely.


No, in his case it is poverty. Nothing else.
Do not listen to this foolishness. I am a CWI and have worked in the business for years and have seen damage done. Your skin can get flash burned from up to 25' away!! I have gotten "sunburned" from 5-8 feet away with relatively short exposure times.

You may not have injuries that you know about but you are spreading inaccurate and dangerous information in your posts.
02-14-2011, 11:37 PM   #26
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Well I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on the exact severity of it, I just feel that it is best taken on a case by case basis, depending on the equipment being used rather than wrapping up far beyond what you need to, or being so far away that you don't get the shot you are looking for, when it can be taken at an acceptable risk level.
Caution is always better than uneeded risk, I thought my first few posts were pretty much SOP(cover up, minimize overall exposure for camera and self) Just that it is not quite as instantly hazardous as is sometimes made out.
I also stated the exposures my camera has been used for, with a polarizing filter in place.
It was mostly the additional layers of dark welding glasses behind the viewfinder that I'm not so sure are entirely needed.
Tried it once, couldn't get a good shot, could hardly see through the viewfinder.




I do prefer precautions where possible(like polarizing filters, and covering the camera body/hands with something natural)

However, I would not be wearing that dark a tint with additional glasses as well if I was welding 16 gauge sheet. So I think there is nothing wrong with balancing precaution and ability to get the picture you want.




Yes UV is dangerous, yes there are potential long term side effects if you get too much of it, and caution is always best. In most cases with the kind of equipment you find in home shops, it is not quite extreme enough to require multiple layers of equipment, and extra dark shielding behind the viewfinder as well with filters etc in place.


I can only say that in my experience I have not experienced any serious, or severely damaging effects, and I've been working with and around welders for the last 8 years off and on.
I have seen people get sunburn from welding for too many hours without a coat, but certainly not in short doses, and from that far away. I have had some minor discomfort (as you said, like sand) once or twice, due to someone starting a new bead while I was still adjusting what we were working on.


Prescription glasses DO cut the UV, not completely of course, but better than nothing, and better than no protection at all because it was getting in the way. My welding instructor frequently wore those or clear safety glasses rated for normal UV levels while teaching, not suitable for staring at an active arc, but he found them adequate for reflected light if there was a gap in curtains etc as did the students, or if someone hit a table while he was talking. He's been welding for about 45 years(retired except for the one course a year) I tended to wear some slightly more tinted polarized lenses, on before I walked in, and off only after leaving but I was welding all day then.




I am not saying go and stand nude around a welder, or stare into it, just that it is possible to minimize risks and still get the shot you want, without big lobster mitts, a full coat, additional welding tinted glasses and a mask behind the viewfinder etc.

overexposure to the sun will also give you skin cancer, and reddened skin too.

No it is not the same as perfect PPE,
but as a photographer, you would not be exposed the same way as someone working 40 hours a week with a welder.
if you are comfortable with additional kit, then I would go for it, and certainly in the higher exposure risks(like welding AL).

Some common sense precautions(long sleeves, natural fibers, some form of safety glasses, even better with a reasonable tint(yellow or light green) is quite sufficient in most cases for taking a few pictures.

There are once in a million injuries like the one about the reflected UV off a window(one I saw recently was someone blowing their thumb up full of air because of a small cut, despite having done the exact same steps for over 25 years, if I hadn't seen it in person, I never would believe it, it took us a lot of work with a syringe to suck most of the air out before it could go anywhere else in him and then a trip to the ER to get it sorted)

I would be curious about what type of equipment was being used when the blindness from a window reflection occurred. I would bet it was more than a regular MIG/TIG setup in a small shop. If not, then I am very surprised.


Back on the topic of the picture, I like the balance of seeing the welders hands, but no faceshield, and the orange of the gloves with the glow through the metal. Do you have any more pictures from that?
What was your friend working on?

Last edited by JGB; 02-14-2011 at 11:49 PM.
02-15-2011, 04:05 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by JGB Quote
However, I would not be wearing that dark a tint with additional glasses as well if I was welding 16 gauge sheet.
Of course not. And if you did look at that 300+ amp arc unprotected from less than 50 feet away, you would be taking a chance.
Here is OSHA site with shade recommendations.
www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9778

Last edited by Ex Finn.; 11-11-2014 at 05:49 PM.
02-15-2011, 04:48 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by jgb Quote
i would be curious about what type of equipment was being used when the blindness from a window reflection occurred.
1/8 7018.
02-15-2011, 04:59 AM   #29
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Don't under estimate flash burn of the eyes. I work in the welding shop and walk through regular, 30 section of indirect flash can cause discomfort to the eyes.
In the picture the welder is applying hard facing (wear resistant material) to the inside of the pipe.
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02-15-2011, 02:00 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
Of course not. And if you did look at that 300+ amp arc unprotected from less than 50 feet away, you would be taking a chance.
Here is OSHA site with shade recommendations.
www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9778

Let me rephrase, I would not be wearing that level of dark shield+ additional wrap around shades, if I was welding 16ga mild steel with a small mig welder on a 30amp fuse, drawing a small amount of power.
Those OSHA recommendations have a high safety margin, and are designed with long term exposure in mind as well.


If I were photographing someone welding with the kind of power being talked about, the safety precautions I would take for the camera and my eyes would be much higher.


Lower power welding means lower level of UV, and therefore lower levels of risk, high powered equipment demands a higher level of precaution, and respect.

It's like the PPE and safety precautions for working with rubbing alcohol(like avoiding any contact with skin, gloves, proper ventilation, respirator etc). OSHA has quite a list of required equipment for that, which makes complete sense for industrial use with large quantities, and high levels of exposure risk.



7018 is Aluminium, isn't it?
That really sucks, was it just a small MIG setup, or something more powerful being used?


I like the latest shot a lot, it's cool to see the welder facing the photo, and still see the work being done at the same time.
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