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Fluorescent Mineral Photography Studio

While visiting my granddaughter in Florida I had time to revamp my daughter's UV light box. The old one was too small for the large specimens she's been photographing lately, and the lighting was under-powered. Our strategy is to bathe the specimen in as much UV light as possible and adjust the brightness of the image by controlling the time exposure. But lots of UV creates another problem - the photographer can be exposed to a lot of UV .

The pics below show how I decided to build this box. It's basically an enclosed box with UV on all sides, top, and bottom. The camera peeks in from the front and is connected to a laptop (tethered) for hands free control (Nikon D750). SW, MW, LW, and white light all controlled by a power strip with individual switches. (The wiring is still messy. We have extension cords on order to clean it up).

Two transilluminators (transilluminator - overview) are mounted on each side with very customized wiring (more later). A MW and a SW light are mounted to the top, and a SW light shines in from the front. 3ea 365nm LED lights are positioned at the front, with one free floating for optimal positioning. Two white light flood LEDs illuminate the whole box.

The box was framed out with wood (1"x2") and the sides are black poster board. Mounted to a table, the basic size is 29" x 29" x 22" high. Wood and exposed surfaces were painted flat black (chalkboard paint). Sides are just velcro'd on for easy access. Lexan "doors" (uV blocking, home depot) on the front swing open/shut to allow easy positioning for photos and protection from the UV once the shot is framed.

Transilluminator lighting shown: MW+SW, MW only, SW only - one on each side

The transilluminators on each side are wired together. Each has a 55W SW "U" tube and two 25W MW tubes. Both SW tubes on either side are controlled by a single switch, as are the four MW tubes. Thus lights can be SW both sides, MW both sides, or SW/MW both sides. Total lamp power is 110W of SW, 100W of MW.

The lights at the top and front are my own custom design (I built a dozen or so back in the early 2000's). The SW lights use 55w "U" tubes, and the MW 25W linear tubes. The LW LEDs are also of my own design (the satellite system I was manufacturing for a while. I now recommend the LNKR from Engenious Designs).

Individual switches provide control over each light. Either SW, MW, LW, or FullWave (all three).

Proof is in the pudding - Tugtupite with Chkalovite, Kvanefjeld, Ilimaussaq Complex, Greenland

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