Introduction: How to Take Kirlian Photos

You have seen those amazing photos with the lightning bolts shooting out of everyday objects. Now it is your turn to learn how to make these pictures


Step 1: Danger!!!!

Warning this project involves extremely high voltages. I am not liable for any damages you cause to other people or yourself. SO have fun and be careful

Step 2: What You Need

For this project you will need:

To Buy:

Sheet Metal, Mine was 12x18 but you can go larger or smaller if you want ($5)
Page protectors ($3 for 100)
Speaker wire($5 for 100 feet)
Rigid Copper Wire(Depends on where you buy it, 1foot should only be a couple cents, you need 3)
Neon Sign Transformer($25 on eBay)

What you need to take the photo:

Digital camera that can take a long exposure (10 seconds minimum)
Small metal objects, or you can dip plastic items in salt water.

Total costs: about $35 but if you use a flyback transformer or other high voltage source it will be cheaper...

Step 3: Making the Discharge Plate

The discharge plate is the piece of metal that is under the insulator, it causes the metal object to try to discharge, but since the plastic is in the way it makes the electricity spark out trying to reach the bare metal.

In this step you will need:

Sheet Metal
Speaker Wire (2"

With the ducttape, kneel on the floor with the metal plate vertical between your knees and fold the ducctape over the hotdog way' so that half of the ducttape is on the front and half of it is on the back. I went over each edge twice for added thickness but you don't have to. Repeat this steps on all of the sides except for 1. The side you don't tape should be one of the shorter sides.

Now set the plate down on a table with the tape-free side facing you. On the lower right corner slice off the last inch of tape (shown in picture three) remove the tape on that last inch on the top and the bottom.

To connect the speaker wire, strip both wires, about an inch long and tape one of them to the top of the plate and the other to the bottom (see Picture four and five) after you have connected the wires, finish putting the ducttape on the last edge.

The other end of the speaker wire you will need to strip and wind the two separate half of the wire together, this end will go to the NEGATIVE terminal of your transformer.

If you dont know which end is the negative, find a grounded object and touch each end of the transformer to the grounded object, one of them will spark, the other one will do nothing, connect the plate's wire to the one that does nothing.

Step 4: Making the Sparks.

Since your plate is negative, there are no sparks, to get the sparks connect the other wire, the tough harder to bend wire to the POSITIVE side of the transformer. While taking the picture you will touch this wire to the object on the discharge plate, therefore making a spark.

Step 5: Taking the Picture

To take the picture you will need to move your setup into a dark room with a light you can turn on and off with out leaving the equiptment alone. With the lights still on place the page protector on the discharge plate. Whatever the object is that the picture is going to be taken of will need to be set on top of this, so be careful of the size of your object, it it is too large it will just short out. Screw your camera onto the tripod and set the exposure setting to about 8 seconds, also zoom into the object so that the object is centered with about 2-3 inches of room around it. When you are ready to take the picture turn on transformer and turn out the lights. After the lights are off touch the wire (yes you have to hold it, but only use one hand and NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER 1MILLION TIMES NEVER TOUCH THE PLATE WITH THE OTHER HAND, doing so would lead to the transformer shorting out your heart, so be careful.) and hold it on the object. At first you will be freaked out and scream and drop the wire because the sparkes are very lound and bright but after a while you will be used to it. After you are comforatble with the sparks and the lights out with the sparks on start your camera. After the picture is finished unplug the transformer or turn it off FIRST and then turn the lights back on. The best thing you could do is have a flashlight that you can turn on after the picture to see so you won't electricute your self! Another good idea is to have someone help you with starting the camera and plugging in everything and then unpugging it. It is very cool to watch so have fun but be careful please.

Step 6: The Use of My Kareoke Machine

My table is tall and with my tripod i couldn't see the if the picture was centered or zoomed properly, so I took the cable that came with the camera that you use to hook it to a TV and connected it to that which had a little black and white screen on it. If you can't see your camera and it can hook to a TV this is the way to go if you are A) near a TV or B) if you have a little TV that you can set near your project

Step 7: Optional Discharge Plate

In the video
At the beginning the plate is made of tinfoil. If you don't have easy acess to sheet metal or can't get to a store that sells it you can take a thin board and fold the tinfoil over it and tape the back, then use the same instructions as before. Still an even easier plate is to just set a square of tinfoil on a table and use that. Pretty much anything that is flat, metal, larger than a piece of paper and you can hook wires to will work as a discharge plate.

Step 8: Page Protectors

I don't have any pictures, but after so many objects or if the object has a sharp point that is sticking in to the page protector it will short out. The first time it will be pretty scary because of the flash of light, but not to worry it causes no harm, all you have to do is put a new page protector on and you're ready to go. If an object shorts out every time check it for sharp barbs or if it is sticking into the plastic, if it is fix it or find a new object.

Step 9: Finished Picture!

WIth the finished pictures you can leave as is or take a before and after picture and photoshop the lightning free picture in the light on to the next picture with the lightning. you can see that is what I did with the old Zune that didn't work I zapped the broken one and put a picture i found online on top of it in photo shop.

Have fun, but be safe!