RE: Tesla Coil Photography

Terry: from what I see, that would have been a great shot, *IF* you had
the camera on a tripod. Get a tripod. You need a tripod. Did I mention you
should use a tripod?
Any kind of long exposure is *IMPOSSIBLE* to do right with a handheld
you are looking for those blurred effects that is)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Tesla List [mailto:tesla-at-pupman-dot-com]
> Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 1999 5:01 PM
> To: tesla-at-pupman-dot-com
> Subject: Tesla Coil Photography
> Original Poster: Terry Fritz <twftesla-at-uswest-dot-net>
> Hi All,
> My pictures of streamers did not turn out well and I could use a little
> advise...
> I posted my "best" picture ( the one the shop bothered to print) at:

This was hand held, florescent lights without the florescent filter, ASA
100 film, 3.5 aperture, the camera was controlling the exposure (thank
goodness, or it may have turned out bad :-))....

First let me tell you what I have...

Minolta X-700 manual camera that seems to like working around TCs.
Has auto exposure and aperture priority which is probably not of any use
for TC work...
Minolta 35-70 Macro lens with speeds of 3.5-22.
Minolta 1:1.4 lens with speeds from 1.4 to 16.
Kodak Royal Gold 400 and 1000 speed film.
Tripods, popular filteres, and flex shutter cable.

So.... I should be set, but...  I am NOT the worlds greatest photo guy.  I
have read the books and even take "Popular Photography" but I am just not a
"natural" at such things...  I get all the technical stuff and I have a
good understanding of what all the setting do but the "skill and
experience" factor is a definite problem...

For the last set of attempted pictures, I used 100 speed film with the 3.5
aperture.  The exposure was about 5 seconds using the "one Mississippi, two
Mississippi" timing method with the camera hand held and working the variac
with the other hand...  I will use the tripod and flex shutter cable next
time...  One problem was that the film and lens speed (100, 3.5) were not
great enough for an arc to burn an image on the film with the available RMS
light from the arc.  Thus, I figure, faster film and perhaps the 1.4 lens
are needed (I have been reading the archives on this).  If there is enough
ambient light for the camera electronics to do the exposure, it does a good
job light wise but the streamers seems dim (with 100 speed film) thus I
guess the 400 speed would be much better (I have 1000 too).

Sooo...  I have the "stuff" and know "some" things but I was just wondering
if anyone had any suggestion as to the film, aperture, time... (especially
the time!!) settings to get me into the ballpark for a sort of dark room.
I realize that there are variables and I'll have to try things, but I seem
pretty darn far away at the moment...  The room is usually pretty dark but
I can make out the coil and other objects ok so it is not pitch black...

Any advice is welcome.  I hate to go through a bunch of sessions and film
just to START getting reasonable pictures...