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Photographing Laser Pulse

Anthony P

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This is a spin off from my dye laser thread. The laser itself is fully operational, however, photographing it to share with everyone has introduced its own set of problems.
When I try to photograph the laser spot on a target (6"x6" white card) all that comes out is an evenly yellow illuminated card. With my eye I see a very bright and sharply defined yellow laser spot.
When trying to photograph the beam shot, success has been limited.

I am using a Nikon "Coolpix B500" which is a decent camera. I have tried using night landscape mode and even short video clips. No laser spot on either even though I can see it with my eyes.

My theory on night mode is that light from the flashlamp and ordinary dye breakdown light precede the laser pulse and are enough to trigger the camera shutter closed. No idea why it won't show on video.
Any ideas?


 



Anthony P

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Today I will try "sport mode" which takes several photos in rapid succession. Maybe I can get lucky and catch the pulses.
 

Jim H

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If you can set the speed, ISO and aperture, I think you need to set them for a very short and dark exposure to be able to see the beam as not completely washed out and overpowered by extraneous light, or at least the lowest ISO and smallest aperture you can for a longer exposure. And light blocks, like Paul said, would help immensely as well. I know the below photo isn't going to be the same as your laser, but for reference, this argon was taken at ISO 200, 1/60 second, F4 and is still a bit washed outDSCF0792.JPG
 

RedCowboy

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You have a better chance with the sport mode, a high speed cam would be the way to go.
 

Anthony P

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Are you actually trying to photograph a single pulse?
Yes. This is essentially the Scientific American dye laser. Fire rate can be once every few seconds, but I always allow cool down time for the lamp. This is not my first version of this laser... I have blown up many lamps over the years and lived and learned.
The laser pulse is extremely intense... I think too much for the automatic camera features. I will try manual adjustments as suggested by Jim H. Building the laser was relatively easy compared to figuring out how to use this camera.
 

Jim H

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Yes. This is essentially the Scientific American dye laser. Fire rate can be once every few seconds, but I always allow cool down time for the lamp. This is not my first version of this laser... I have blown up many lamps over the years and lived and learned.
The laser pulse is extremely intense... I think too much for the automatic camera features. I will try manual adjustments as suggested by Jim H. Building the laser was relatively easy compared to figuring out how to use this camera.
That being said, my avatar is a pulse from a YAG laser ionizing air at the focal point. It was a longer exposure, although not that long, but unfortunately I don't remember the other settings. I had to take several, and was actually surprised I caught a nanosecond pulse, although I don't know how long the ionized air lasts
 
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steve001

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What I had in mind was a result looking as such.
If that is your goal then the only practical way I see is a time exposure using low ISO speed film an with ND filters
 

Anthony P

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Wow. Thanks Steve... and everyone else. I definitely have some things to think about. I discovered today that the ISO settings on my camera are not adjustable in spite of there being a menu slot for them. It appears that they were available on earlier versions of this camera. The "spot on the wall" may be out of reach for now. I may be able to capture some reasonable beam shots, though.

In addition to being able to share photos with everyone, I was hoping to use photos as a tool for fine tuning of laser. For now, all I can do is try my best with what I have.
 




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