Tonight we conducted a test illumination at Tiffany Falls.
So what is all involved in this and why are we doing this you may wonder….
For those that have seen the waterfall illuminations in person or from the pictures online, you may just think we turn the lights on and voila its magic…. well it is actually once the lights get turned on, the falls transform into something purely magical, this is how we do it.
Today I picked up a new colour from Lee Filters, this is always the tricky part with hundreds of colours to choose from its sometimes a best guess as to what we need and to what we will get.
You might be thinking so whats the big deal, you pick your colour and order the filters and thats what we will get correct?
Well I wish it was that easy, but its not.
First off, our lamps which are a battery powered unit, with a 35w HID Bulb, puts out 25 million candlepower a piece, never gives us the colour that we want as the beam changes the colour as it goes through the filter and then makes its way to the waterfall.
Depending as well the waterfall, amount of water, and or combinations of ice or snow we can get a completely different colour that what we wanted…..like tonight.
We started with a gel filter that was orangey/yellow as we knew it would lighten up when we hit it with the lamps so we would get yellow…or so we thought.
Instead we got green.
Here is how that happened.
After 5 years of doing illuminations, I used my Grade 3 art class knowledge to figure out the HID bulbs MUST be emitting a blue ray, and then mixing with the filters we got green.
This is simple science, we all know that blue and yellow gives you green.
Plus I liked my art teacher…LOL.
So, what did we do then you wonder???….
Well we doubled up the filters, this then gave us a good look at what we wanted, the colour now changed to something that we thought was pretty cool.
Sometimes with a very light yellow in the past we have tripled and even quad the filters as well.
This in itself brings on another challenge, in that every time we add a filter we lose candlepower on the waterfall.
Primary colours like the red that we use for RED FRIDAY illuminations rob the most power.
We actually have a chart that gives us the mathematical formula that we can use to figure out the amount of candlepower that we have left that will be thrown onto the waterfall, its something that if you have to much will give what we call ” Burn” spots to people taking pictures.
To the naked eye it will appear maybe a bit brighter but if you look through a full frame camera especially you will see it.
Sometimes we will use a camera on a tripod beside us to see what it looks like as well, and once again we can get a completely different colour than what the naked eye sees.
So tonight after we got the filters cut and then placed onto the lamps off we went to Tiffany to see how they would look.
You might be thinking that now all the hard work has been done, its simply time to place the lamps and turn them on right?
I mean in Niagara Falls they just flip a switch and the lights go on, how hard can this really be!?
Well lets look at Niagara Falls since you asked.
Niagara Falls has it easy, they really do, the falls themselves are a constant, she does not change.
Flip the switch and voila, you are looking at a coloured curtain is how I describe it, nothing else to do….Ho hum, time for bed….LOL
But here in Hamilton with over 100 waterfalls, each has its own unique character and challenges, plus just when we think we have it were we want it, it rains or dries up, changing the flow and therefore pattern, look and feel all over again.
Even tonight at Tiffany, in 24 Hours from now and 48 and 72 she will look different each and every day. With our watershed not being protected we keep losing our water that feeds our falls so they tend to dry up earlier and faster each year.
When we get to the waterfall that we are testing tonight being Tiffany, the lamps were set up and quickly I noticed something that ” jumped” out at me, that being how nice it looked.
But, what makes it look nice?
What makes it appealing to me, you or anyone attending?
Well 1st it has to be a colour that you like, and one that pleases your soul so to speak.
Second, we have to focus the beams on areas that the water is full of oxygen or all frothy and white, as it hits the rocks, when it does this, it grabs and absorbs the light and gives us the desired look that we want.
Certain colours can do it better than others, and tonights worked very good.
After an hour or so in trying a whole bunch of different angles we ended up with this, with a spot or two of teal thrown in as well.
Tonights pictures were taken with Sony’s new powerhouse unit the a7R, and Carl Zeiss’s new lens. And here is the kicker, they were taken handheld, NO tripod.
Be proud Hamilton