The purpose of this article is to provide technical how to advice, for people who are looking to create an artificial rainbow.
Some of the reasons for creating an artificial rainbow are:
- The rainbow can be added to images in post processing.
- The rainbow can be used on its own in photographs or products.
- It beats waiting around for a thunderstorm to pass.
Methodology & Equipment:
- A Canon 5DSr body was used for this article.
- Crystal Glass Triangular Prism 6” L x Sides 1.38”.
- Crystal Crystal Pyramid 2.75″ H x 2 1/4″ L x 2 1/4″ W.
- Sunlight or a strong flashlight, and a white sheet of paper.
Above: The two crystals used for this photo shoot placed on a picnic table in front of a JOBY tripod for scale.
Place the crystal in direct sunlight. Slowly rotate the crystal until it produces the desired rainbow. You will probably find it helpful if the sun is approximately between 25° and 45° degrees elevation.
Below is a photograph of the setup.
Project rainbow on to the desired target, in this case a white sheet of paper. Note: Keeping the target in the shade will prevent the rainbow from being washed out.
Photograph the projected rainbow. Exposures of 1/00sec., f11, with an ISO 100 were used for this article. The photographs taken were handheld, but you may find it useful to use a tripod as this will allow you to manipulate the crystal during the shoot. Keep in mind that the sun is constantly moving and will require you to adjust accordingly.
Repeat the process with different crystals.
Below: The set up utilizing the pyramid shaped crystal.
You can also curve or bend the target paper to create different shapes with the rainbow. This can also be done in post processing with Photoshop.
Protecting the rainbow onto a rough textured surface, such as a wood picnic table, will allow you to create an excellent database of rainbow colored textures for later post processing use with other images.
Below: The rainbow projected on a wooden picnic table.
Above: Rainbow created with the 6” crystal.
Above: The pyramid shaped crystal produced a somewhat pyramid shaped rainbow
Above: The tip of the pyramid shaped crystal was placed in the path of the rainbow projected by the 6” long crystal, the pyramid was lying on one of its sides with its base towards the sun. This created a very unique effect which can prove useful in 3D type artwork, and altered reality type photographs.
Artificial rainbows can easily be created in a short amount of time. Using your imagination will allow you to utilize this artwork in post processing to further enhance other images, create beautiful 3D artwork as well as altered reality type images.
Experimentation is the key!
Michael J Jordan says
I do not have a 1/00sec exposure on my camera. Is there an equivalent exposure I can use? “Exposures of 1/00sec., f11, with an ISO 100 were used for this article.”