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02-07-2011, 08:05 PM   #1
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Tomorrow I have an invitation to take photos of a guy welding. Is there anything in particuar I should watch out for? Is there any chance that the intense light could damage my K20?

02-07-2011, 09:05 PM   #2
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Don't look at the light. You'll sunburn your retinas.
02-07-2011, 11:26 PM   #3
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Put a filter on the lens if you're going in close. There's often sparks (depending on the type of weld method) that could fly around being very hot. Use Live View.
02-07-2011, 11:46 PM   #4
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I'd shroud entire camera/lens,slag is very,very hot.Only takes a second for flash burn
to eyes.Wont feel at it first,once you do,you'll wish you hadnt.See if your friend has
an extra hood or glass for one. If you have "catch in focus" function on body
your shooting,use it.Talk with your friend about how you want to set up,
maybe bracket off of sequence or something like that.
Slag is hot enough to mark glass,use cheap filter(s) if nothing else.
Dont wear any poly-fleece or nylon,instead go with sturdy denim(tight weave cotton)
give attention to neck/head hole in garment,slag goes down there,you'll dance.

02-08-2011, 12:57 AM   #5
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Even laser on disco party can damage your photo matrix inside DSLR.
could laser light burn CCD ? - Digital Cameras Forum
So, using very high dark optic filter for photos of welding is obligatory.
Enother example(in russian), after show party and using concert laser, matrix of DSLR has unrecoverable damage.

Last edited by LRaven; 02-08-2011 at 01:03 AM.
02-08-2011, 07:30 AM   #6
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dont use live view, dont use eyes without protection.

use 1/8000th of a second and it probably wont burn the CMOS?
02-08-2011, 10:35 AM   #7
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This forum post is about shooting welders on film, but offers some good advice, like don't wear contact lenses as they can be welded to your eye from the intense uv light. I wouldn't worry about your sensor though, I can't image the arc is too much brighter than the midday sun, and I shoot that alll the time with no problems...

Photographing light from welding torch - Forum
02-08-2011, 11:33 AM   #8
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You really should look into the Occupational Health and Safety standards about protection from welding.

Aside from the issues noted here, about hot sparks damaging the camera, or causing burns, and about looking at the welding process without eye protection, you should also note that there is just as much damage possible if you look away, and catch the arc out of the corner of your eye.

To be breif, you should not look at the welding process AT ALL without eye protection.

A flame welder's eye protection is (from memory) grade 5, like very dark sunglasses, an arc welder's protection is something like grade 11, and I believe the opacity is logrythmic.

I would consider setting up a remote trip if the camera is at all close, and also consider using 2 polarizing filters to give you a variable ND filter.

Work by trial and error to get the exposure.

Otherwise, consider being far enough away, and shielded from the direct ARC by either a screen or by good placement of the item being welded, and just capture the sparks and bright, but reflected light

02-08-2011, 11:38 AM   #9

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I like the idea of being farther away and using a longer lens (or zoom) to capture what it is you want to capture.

If it is the person doing the welding who is the subject, that is one thing. "Man welding"

But if it is the welding itself - the arc at the metal - you need to be very careful about following careful protections for your camera, lens and your own eyes. Sunglasses are not strong enough protection when viewing a welding arc close-up. You may need neutral density filters to get any definition of the arc welding point, if that is what you are after.
02-08-2011, 04:53 PM   #10
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I took that a few weeks ago with a K10 and a Vivitar S1. 24-48, I was about 10 feet away from the welder, and took about 6 or 7 pictures.

I'm a maintenance engineer by trade, and I have a fully equipped workshop at home so I am aware of the dangers that many people have rightly pointed out, and I didn't look through the viewfinder to get this picture, it was a point and shoot picture which has been cropped to make level.
02-08-2011, 08:35 PM   #11
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Thank you for all the comments, helpful hints and links.

As it turned out the guy wasn't available after all. Maybe I'll try to absorb all the info and try when he is busy again.
02-08-2011, 10:02 PM   #12
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I took the photo without viewing the welding arc. I was also standing 2ft away.
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02-09-2011, 03:28 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by wraid Quote
I took the photo without viewing the welding arc. I was also standing 2ft away.
and if you look back at my suggestions it follows much of the rules

the arc is hidden by the work, you use the reflected light for illumination and you see the sparks.

iot is a good shot, specifically since you can see the heat through the pipe
02-09-2011, 02:42 PM   #14
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Welding flash is reflected and can easily damage your eyes, but it does diminish with distance and obviously each 'reflection' will diminish the power of the harmful rays.

Before I was a maintenance engineer I spent four years as a quality engineer in a large fabrication plant, I spent about 6 hours a day on the welding shop floor. I would wear safety glasses with a tint all day, they were oxy-acetylene welders glasses, but I still had to bathe my eyes most nights as the 'welding terrors' set in.
There were light leaks around the safety glasses, and sometimes I took them off to see something in detail, and with over 150 welders striking arcs most of the time the place was alive with welding flash.

The picture I took I was stood outside, and that does seem to diminish the effect a lot, but never underestimate the danger of welding flash, at best it's painful, at worst it's permanent damage.

To have been safe when I took my pictures I should have used the correct eye protection which is the same as the guy welding. Welding flash will penetrate your eyelids even if you close your eyes tightly ( which is what I did, and I looked away as I pointed the camera in the general direction )
But I freely admit that familiarity led me to take the chance and get a picture. I guess that 'familiarity' also meant that I took the chance with some degree of knowledge than meant I got away with it, a calculated risk.
So, if it's something you have no experience of, be very careful and take advice from the welder.
02-09-2011, 03:03 PM   #15
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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.

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