Monday, 14 May 2012

Photography: Welding Glass Photography (WGP) Result 2012

Locky's E.P. @ Digitalrev
Image from Locky's English Playground
Last entry, I have started a photography page on Digitalrev, marking yet another milestone in Locky's English Playground history.

But there's more!
Welding Glass installed on the mask
Image from Wikipedia
The first batch of photos I put up on my Digitalrev page is also my first ever attempt in Welding Glass Photography (as mentioned earlier in the entry Photography: ND Filters & Photography) and I love it!!! In this entry, I would like to share some tips with this type of photography for anyone who might be interested. Near the end, I will introduce two of my photography teachers / English students who take one-of-a-kind photos.

A quick revision about Welding Glass Photography (WGP) here. Welding glass is a piece of glass installed on the welding mask to block harmful light from entering into the eyes during welding, and because welding glass is so dark, it can serve as a very very very cheap ND filter.

On a very bright sunny sun-burning day like the day of my first WGP attempt, the photo can enjoy a very long exposure time (30 seconds to 2 minutes or more). The drawbacks are that it is green in colour (see below) and you will need to wait quite awhile for your photo.

Original green JPEG photo taken with welding glass
Image from Locky's English Playground
The first drawback is definitely solvable in the post-processing stage, meaning retouching with software back on your computer; however, if you want to get back a colour close enough to the natural colour, it might be very difficult in this case.

Nonetheless, if you are a fan of black-and-white photos, then simply switch your camera to monochrome during photo-taking or convert your photos to black-and-white on your computer, and you might get a photo which looks like the one I took below.
Monochrome with ring effect
Image from Locky's English Playground
This is not bad!! Isn't it? But at some angles, some light might be refracted within the thick welding glass creating a round ring effect, so a cloth covering the glass and the lens can help to eliminate this problem.
Adding cloth to prevent light from leaking in
Image from Electric Arc
Some of you might say, why not just crop it out? Well, yes you can, but why not maximise the megapixels of your camera taking just what you want? Won't that be more clear?

If successful, it should look something like this,

Canon 7D, Canon EF 24-105mm f4 L IS USM at 105mm, ISO-100, 60sec at f/20, JPEG
Image from Locky's E.P. @ Digitalrev
On the same day, I have also tried a 7-stop ND Filter, but comparing the two, I prefer the 10-stop welding glass.

Taken using 7-stop ND Filter
Image from Locky's English Playground
And why is that I prefer the welding glass over the ND Filter? Well, that's quite hard to say, maybe it was the lack of practice on the ND filter really, or maybe I prefer the satisfaction of taking a great photo using something as cheap as $6, or maybe...just maybe... I enjoy the lengthy process it takes to create a great photo, which is a very special feeling as compared to the quick snap-and-go, instant-shutter-instant-playback photography.

Using a 7-stop ND filter on that day, anything longer than 3 seconds will be overexposed, but with the welding glass, I can try 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes or even longer. It is like fishing with my dad when I was a little boy, after pressing the remote shutter in BULB mode on my Canon 7D, I sat down, looked around enjoying the sea breeze, waiting yet thinking about the composition of the next photo; I can close that shutter at any time I consider appropriate, like giving that sudden jerk on the line when you know the fish is about to be hooked, if I failed to catch that fish after 60 seconds, I could try again at the same location, or I could move my camera a bit, zoom my lens, or switch to another location entirely, like I have all the time in the world!!! With the ND filter, it is just too simple and direct. There is no challenge for me.

If you are a person with patience, give welding glass photography a go! You might just enjoy as much as I do!

Quick guide to WGP:
  1. Shooting in JPEG is fine for me, but shooting in RAW should give better control of the colour in post-processing
  2. Manual focus (MF) to infinity for scenery.
  3. For focusing on a closer area, use Auto-focus (AF) without the welding glass first, when locked, switch the lens and the dial to MF, place the welding glass in front of the lens.
  4. A cloth covering the connect of the glass and the lens will definitely remove ring effect.
  5. Use long exposure, trial and errors.
  6. Try black-and-white for cool photos.
  7. Custom White Balance if you want less post-processing.

For more photos, do visit Locky's E.P. @ Digitalrev at

Moving onto my photography teachers/English students, they are Alan Tam, my most hard-working and knowledgeable worthy friend who takes excellent all-rounded photos with tonnes of photography equipments he gets to put his hands on,

Alan Tam @ Digitalrev

and Maxim Leung, the queen of iPhone photography who truly understands the meaning of "the best camera is the one that is with you" (by Chase Jarvis). So far, I have never seen anyone else as devoted and as skilful in using the iPhone 4 in photography than Maxim, if Steve Jobs got to know her, I would bet my entire savings on his admitting it.

Maxim Leung @ Digitalrev

Do pay a visit and follow them if you too would like to see more gorgeous photos taken by them.

Alan Tam @ Digitalrev

Maxim Leung @ Digitalrev

Don't forget to "Like" this entry!!!

welding glass -- (n)[C] the dark piece of glass that is installed on the mask protect the eye during welding
one-of-a-kind -- (adj) very unusual and special
drawback -- (n)[C] a disadvantage or the negative part of a situation
retouch -- (vb) [T] to make small changes to a picture, photograph, etc., especially in order to improve it
monochrome -- (adj) using only black, white and grey, or using only one colour
eliminate -- (vb) [T] to remove or take away
crop -- (vb) [T] to cut off some or all of the edges from a photograph, leaving only the most important part
maximise -- (vb)[T] to make something as great in amount, size or importance as possible

Message: Locky's English Playground @ Digitalrev @ Locky's English Playground

Photography: ND Filters & Photography @ Locky's English Playground

Locky's E.P. @ Digitalrev

Alan Tam @ Digitalrev

Maxim Leung @ Digitalrev

Photography & Websites: Chase Javis With Lego Camera & Fujifilm X100  @ Locky's English Playground