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Craig Burrows uses UV light to create fluorescent flowers series

June 2019 issue

Craig Burrows uses UV light to create fluorescent flowers series

What color will a flower be when it’s photographed under ultraviolet light? That’s part of the intrigue of Craig Burrows’ fluorescent flowers photos series, which is as much a scientific as a photographic endeavor.

To make the photos, Burrows first gets the flower into a dark environment—typically a dark room during nighttime hours. “The trick is to remove as much visible light as possible,” he says. “Just like when a white T-shirt lights up blue under a black light, if you use the right kind and the right strength of ultraviolet light, you can make almost anything that is living material light up that way,” he says.

When he started exploring this type of photography, Burrows bought a 365-nanometer UV light from eBay. After much trial and error with various lights, he eventually designed his own LED ray that he had custom built by a factory in China.

Eventually he’d like to take his work outdoors, perhaps photographing a field of flowers under UV light at night. 

Amanda Arnold is associate editor of Professional Photographer. 

Tags: nature photographypersonal photography project

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