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How do I take good pictures of my Tesla Coils and other high voltage projects?

At the moment, I'm rebuilding my mini SSTC and the sparks are amazing, I just can't manage to snap a good picture. What sorts of settings should I use, how do I position my camera, etc?

ynze6 years ago
0. Ask a friend to help you
1. Camera on a tripod
2. Darken the room you're taking the pictures
3. Switch the camera to manual mode
4. Set the iris to a value like 8, 10 or 12
5. Set the iso-value to 200 (lower means better quality pics, but less sensitive to light)
6. Set the shutter-speed of the camera to BULB! That means that the shutter will be open as long as you keep the button down.
7. Let your friend produce a spark, while you're keeping the shutter open.
8. Release the button and check the picture you just made. If too dark, increase the camera's iso-value.
Repeat and adjust, experiment with multiple sparks in one shot, etc.

frollard ynze6 years ago
+1

It's all about the huge aperture, (smaller number is better light input, shallower depth of focus), long shutter (capture multiple sparks in one image)

There isn't much you can do to make more light, so you have to be more sensitive to it, by either using a physically wider lense (which can handle lower aperture), or upping the sensitivity, (iso).
Kiteman6 years ago
If you're trying to catch the sparks, try taking video, at as high a resolution as you can manage, then take a screen-grab of a paused spark.

yokozuna6 years ago
First, always use a tripod, which should get rid of a lot of your blur. Something else you can do is take multiple pictures with different iris settings. You can then either find one that you like, or you can combine elements from different settings in Photoshop or GIMP. I don't really consider that to be a true HDR image, but the concept is the same.