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Shooting a Rainbow


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#1 Chris Walters

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 02:41 PM

Is it possible to capture a good image of a rainbow? Is it possible to make one in camera that is controllable? Can't remember any films that I've seen that have done this but, just wondering if it can be done with out going directly to post. Thank you for the responces.

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#2 Michael Nash

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 04:36 PM

Of course it's possible to photograph a rainbow, it's just having one naturally occur when and where you want it that's the hard part. You might be able to find some stock footage. I don't know of any way to do it in camera, and it seems like you'd have more control in post anyway.

Just Google/images "rainbow" and you'll see lots of great photos.
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#3 Valerio Sacchetto

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 06:28 PM

What about the exposure? By instinct i'd expose for whatever landscape is in front of me to have a nice overall frame but would i have to do some corrections to have the best result possible (in general, of course)? Filters?
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#4 Michael Nash

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 06:33 PM

Don't overthink it; it's just light. You expose for however you want it to appear. Take a look at the surroundings (including the sky) and make a judgement call.

I wouldn't filter anything, colored filters or polarizers only cancel wavelengths (colors) of light. I'd say balance for daylight to capture the widest range colors in the rainbow.
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#5 Nick Mulder

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 06:46 PM

What about the exposure? By instinct i'd expose for whatever landscape is in front of me to have a nice overall frame but would i have to do some corrections to have the best result possible (in general, of course)? Filters?



There is nothing special about the light a rainbow in terms of exposing it on film or sensor of your choice - if you have a spot meter then you can dial in the exposure to your liking - otherwise just go with a general incident reading exposure as you suggest ...

What is the 'best result possible' that you refer to ? A really punchy saturated rainbow ?

Filters ? hmmm, I assume you mean a polarizer ? (gawd, I hope you dont mean this filthy thing :rolleyes: )

My physics is really lacking at the moment so all I'll say is that yes, maybe it could help - rainbows are always 'perpendicular' to the observer and only work with the sun being on certain angles again in relation to the water and the viewer - therfore I'd hazard a guess at saying the effect of a polarizer (if any) is always helpful or always not ...

am I getting my mathamaphysics right-o-mondo here ?

helpful huh!

answer >> take one with you when you go rainbow chasing and test ...
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#6 Nick Mulder

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 06:53 PM

I wouldn't filter anything, colored filters or polarizers only cancel wavelengths (colors) of light.


Um, I know for certain you know more about this game than I ... but I wouldn't agree

Polarizers cancel polarized light independent of wavelength. If the light you want to preserve is non-polarized and the rest happens to be then it is relatively 'un-cancelled' which after correcting for exposure becomes relatively augmented ...

----
The light that is internally reflected twice inside the water drop may well be polarized sue to the reflection anyhoo... too hard to stick in my internal physics/lighting/simulator (my brain) ...

So yes, I agree with your main point - keep it simple, but you may as well drag a pola with you to see... it'll take 20 seconds max

Edited by Nick Mulder, 14 November 2007 - 06:56 PM.

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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 07:15 PM

Um, I know for certain you know more about this game than I ... but I wouldn't agree

Polarizers cancel polarized light independent of wavelength. If the light you want to preserve is non-polarized and the rest happens to be then it is relatively 'un-cancelled' which after correcting for exposure becomes relatively augmented ...


You're right, I offered a "condensed" explanation and misspoke. Polarizers cancel out a specific direction of waves, regardless of wavelength.
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#8 Valerio Sacchetto

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 07:21 PM

Don't overthink it; it's just light. You expose for however you want it to appear. Take a look at the surroundings (including the sky) and make a judgement call.

I wouldn't filter anything, colored filters or polarizers only cancel wavelengths (colors) of light. I'd say balance for daylight to capture the widest range colors in the rainbow.


Thank you, to be honest i'm not going to shoot rainbows anytime soon i was just curious. So yes basically i was thinking in the right direction, that's somehow reassuring :P

What is the 'best result possible' that you refer to ? A really punchy saturated rainbow ?

Well since it was a non specific question i guess a well saturated rainbow may be the best image possible (also with an eye to the post)

Filters ? hmmm, I assume you mean a polarizer ? (gawd, I hope you dont mean this filthy thing rolleyes.gif )

I hadn't a particular filter in mind, even if a polarizer is the obvious first, but i swear i wasn't referring to the cokin one! :lol:

If i happen to be in presence of a rainbow with my SLR i'll sure take a shot with and without a polarizer. Thank you all for the meaningful answers.
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#9 Nick Mulder

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 07:32 PM

Polarizers cancel out a specific direction of waves, regardless of wavelength.


Excuse me for being the Mr Correction-pants but just to be clear for those of us yet to use a polarizer...

Direction in terms of the conceptual model we have of light at the electromagnetic/midichlorian level... but not the general 'macro' ray propagation direction/s that we mostly (if not always) think about and work with

It sounds like this:

http://www.last.fm/m.../_/Port of Nuba

Edited by Nick Mulder, 14 November 2007 - 07:34 PM.

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#10 Michael Nash

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 07:55 PM

It sounds like this:

http://www.last.fm/m.../_/Port of Nuba


Now I have NO idea what you're talking about...

As for "direction" I was referring to this (maybe "orientation" would have been a better word):
Posted Image
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polarizer

If you want to talk about the ambiguity of light waves vs. photons, maybe this would have been a more appropriate soundtrack...
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#11 Nick Mulder

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 08:59 PM

As lame as it is>> "Now we're on the same wavelength ..."

:lol:
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#12 Jason Debus

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 02:38 AM

Check out Polanski's Ninth Gate (Khondji), they get lucky with a rainbow while driving in the countryside.
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#13 Earl Newton

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Posted 06 December 2007 - 10:23 AM

Direction in terms of the conceptual model we have of light at the electromagnetic/midichlorian level... but not the general 'macro' ray propagation direction/s that we mostly (if not always) think about and work with



The Force is strong with this one, clearly. ;)
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#14 edward read

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 02:03 AM

I would think it very easy to create a rainbow effect. Huge misting sprayer comes to mind. But the angle of the viewer to the sun never changes. 40d isn't it? Camera positon is therefore set with regard to background and sun. Now mist away and have the camera on a dolly to vary position.

Natural Rainbow? A fluke sir. You must create it ... just like everything else in film
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#15 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 01:52 PM

I would think it very easy to create a rainbow effect. Huge misting sprayer comes to mind. But the angle of the viewer to the sun never changes. 40d isn't it? Camera positon is therefore set with regard to background and sun. Now mist away and have the camera on a dolly to vary position.

Natural Rainbow? A fluke sir. You must create it ... just like everything else in film




I attempted this about ten years ago with a hose sending up a big spray and 12K HMI.
I could never get it to work, even after using about every possible angle and looking
from every angle. It was an overcast winter day so I hoped to replicate the effect I
got watering the lawn in the summer.

On sunny days I always enjoyed holding my thumb on the the hose and
seeing the rainbow in the mist.

It made me wonder if maybe the light from an HMI doesn't have the same
ultraviolet light as sunlight, or the same amount or perhaps something else along
the lines of HMI light spectrum vs. sunlight.

I didn't research it beyond that though.
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#16 Douglas Sunlin

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Posted 07 December 2007 - 05:00 PM

Would it be easier to shoot a still and use that in the film for a bg?
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