Vortex lamp with laser pointers and fog machine. The laser pointer is directed to the ceiling and is rapidly spinning in a circular motion, while fog/steam is blown underneath the lamp.
Our team (team Alpha) decided upon choosing the vortex laser lamp to photograph for this assignment. We set out to visualize the rapid, spinning motion of the laser pointer embedded within the lamp and photograph this phenomenon once fog is introduced into the mix. Unfortunately, we were unable to get the lamp to function properly with the fog inside of the machine. To counteract this, we removed the plastic covering in the front of the lamp and decided to use two small stage fog machines, courtesy of Professor Jean Hertzberg. Stephen Morton and I assembled the setup near Professor Hertzberg’s office in a lab workshop room and took photographs.
I was unsure of the specific type of flow motion we were experiencing until I did some research on laser behavior in various atmospheric conditions. The wavelength (or frequency) and intensity of the beam are significant characteristics, as well as the type and amount of impurities in the air. The beam must be of a wavelength that is visible to humans, and the fog must scatter the light very strongly so that you can see it. Since light can scatter from air molecules themselves via Rayleigh scattering, it is a powerful diagnostic tool for the study of gases and is particularly useful for aiding in the understanding of complex flow fields and combustion phenomena. Rayleigh scattering has a strong inverse dependence on wavelength, so it will be easier to see with a blue, and in our case, a green laser. As for the swirling fog that is seen under the laser lights, atmospheric turbulence plays a vital role in the formation and dissipation of fog, creating the cyclonic, smokey formations that we photographed.
The setup was a rather simple one. We placed the two fog machines at 45 degree angles facing the vortex laser lamp approximately 12 inches away. One fog machine was set on a continuous speed and one was set to emit fog at 3 second intervals or ‘bursts’. The entire setup was constructed on the ground underneath a table to eliminate any other light sources in the room and to isolate the turbulence of the fog. We snapped roughly thirty pictures or so, six inches from the turbulent, foggy laser light until we accumulated a decent-enough image. The images were captured under low-light conditions (in pitch black room), so the iso sensitivity of my Canon EOS Rebel t6i camera was set higher than normal, with a focal length of 18, exposure time of 1/30, F number at 3.5, and the dimensions at 6000 x 4000.
After photographing, I edited the image on my computer using Adobe Creative Cloud’s Lightroom. I tinkered with the exposure, highlights, shadows, blacks and whites, saturation, tint, and overall clarity of the image. I also decided to crop it and remove some background light the camera caught.
Comprehensively, I believe the photo came out well. The only critique I have for myself is that parts of the image are a bit grainy and harsh (in the top left corner), and some other sources of light and pieces of background are visible in the image that could have removed via blemish removal on Lightroom. Ultimately, I believe I have captured the motion of fog through a spinning laser vortex rather well, given how the lamp was half-functional, and the image is captivating, yet mystical.
Beautiful image! The scattering of light was photographed really well.
This is a super cool photo! The subject is shown well and your laser lights up the smoke so well, this is really interesting to look at. The photo is high quality and focused well.
I like the whole vortex idea! The spirals are very beautiful! nice job
I really like the flow and the colors that are captured here. The image is really well done.
Very nice image. Normally I’d complain about the overexposed area but I think this works with the aesthetics of the image. Nice job
Very nice setup using the projector and smoke. Great color and focus .
The fog looks very whimsical, I could imagine a wizard emerge from the fog. I wonder how you got the blues and not just the green laser. The red spot may detract from the image.
This is really dynamic image. Great work!
Cool machines to create this beautiful picture. I also love the extra fogs beyond the laser points.
This is really cool and dynamic image. Great work!
The fog is a little blurry at times, but overall with a little bit of post processing that might make the image pop a little more.
The light seems very bright, almost seem like it derives from an aurora, based off the brighter glow at the bottom. The image is framed well, however whatever additional light is coming from the top left of the photo seems to detract.
Do you know what the red flash in the top left is? I think the higher exposure shows more of the flow than some of your other group members. You may be able to spot treat the bottom so that the whites aren’t blown out.
Great image; the physics are clearly visible, but the image looks a little bright or overexposed. I would suggest adjusting the contrast or lowering the exposure.
The focus and cropping in this image is good. I like the shape of the flow, and the green makes for an interesting contrast. It seems a bit overly bright, I wonder what an inverted image would look like?
Consider inverting the colors. I like the composition. The secondary scattering phenomena is cool.
The scattering of the laser light makes for a nice background to the cone. The missing part of the cone is interesting.
I actually like the oversaturated feel to the image but there is a distracting purple reflection.
The different colors and shades are interesting. It has a strange fragmented look while still representing turbulent flow.
The flow spirals are beautiful. It’s a bit overexposed and might benefit from a re-edit.
I like the exposure of the photo it makes the smoke look brighter and the photo more mysterious looking.
I really like this image. The spiraling fog looks excellent with the laser lighting it up. The focus and color are also great. The fog on the outside of the cone is interesting, as it isn’t directly in your laser cone.
Beautiful image, the flow is super clear and very interesting to look at, the red lights at the background is a little distracting.
Neat image! The color is nice. The focus looks pretty good
The coloring of the picture is really interesting and draws the eye. The swirls of the fog have really good focus, allowing you to see the flow real well.
Great image! I love the background, and really like the different shades of green.
I like the different colors in your image. The black spot to the left side is a little distracting, but overall I like the composition.
The variations of all the swirls and the light scattering make this an excellent image! Excellent use of framing to occupy a triangular region of the scene.
Really cool image with a nice demonstration of fog and colored light. Very attractive.
Really cool image, i like how bright and vibrant it is. Overall great image. My only comment is you might want to photoshop out that small piece of purple.
Great framing and use of geometric shapes. The pink light in the background adds a lot to the contrast in the image, and the different shades of green also make it an interesting image.