Photographing Tritium Lume watches

Thread: Photographing Tritium Lume watches

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  1. #1
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Great Lakes - USofA

    Photographing Tritium Lume watches

    I almost always wear a watch at night and tritium lume watches are my favorite watches for that role. A decent photo to show this lume turns out not to be as easy as it first looks...

    Here are the watches we are dealing with --

    (Mondane Night Vision Big Date, Marathon Navigator, Smith and Wesson) Note the inability to get everything in focus at once due to the wide aperture necessary at the existing light level.

    And a shot made on "automatic" exposure which shows the lume...

    Now this is an ok shot... you see a lot of them on WUS in various levels of exposure. It shows lume but in no context. And the watch with the least level of glowing (the Smith and Wesson) barely shows up at all. I wanted better.

    It turns out experimenting showed the best pics were produced by using the shutter override setting of the camera exposure control, setting the shutter to 16 seconds (16 sec was the max on my camera), and manually varying light light levels during the 16 seconds. (This by turning on and off lights.)

    That technique produced these shots:

    (Note the second hand on the Mondane.) This pic shows lume in context.

    And this was the shot I wanted!

    Similar techniques were used on these dial shots.

    The 16 sec exposure in no external light.

    16 seconds with some additional external photons.

    16 seconds with a lot more external photons -- but mostly this exposure was in the dark.

    Experiment with this idea and post some of your pics!
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  2. #2
    Member cnmark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Zhuhai (Hong Kong, Macau)

    Re: Photographing Tritium Lume watches

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    Experiment with this idea and post some of your pics!
    You're welcome... - but instead of varying ambient light I usually use the flash shot into a long exposure. And personally I prefer not too much "environment" to appear, just some of the non-luminous elements of the watch. And it's not necessarily tritium tubes that glow...

  3. #3
    Member BenL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Re: Photographing Tritium Lume watches

    Impressive photography, guys.

    I'll have to try this sometime.

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Re: Photographing Tritium Lume watches

    Thankz for the shots!

    Seiko Samurai TI SBDA001
    Seiko Black Monster SKX779K
    Seiko Orange Monster
    Seiko Baby Monster SNZF47
    Seiko SKX009K2
    Orient 469SS040 Yellow Special Edition from FRM
    Orient CFM00001B0
    Tissot PRS 516
    Swatch Sea Pride YOS402G


    Soon: Citizen Nighthawk, Omega PO 45mm, Omega SM, Oris TT1.

    Wish list:
    Orient WV0051FA

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010

    Re: Photographing Tritium Lume watches

    I just tried taking my first watch&lume shots yesterday.

    Needs a bit of work as I'm not totally happy with them. I've seen some great photos from other users on this forum.
    Timex Trailrunner Bodylink w/ GPS
    Marathon Military Navigator Quartz w/ Date
    Tissot T-race MotoGP '07

  7. #6
    Member Beau8's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Sunny California

    Re: Photographing Tritium Lume watches

    Fantastic looking lume shots~Cheers!

  8. #7
    Member WatchBuff0's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Kanata, Ontario

    Re: Photographing Tritium Lume watches

    Here are two different ways of doing lume shots:

    #1 - This was done by combining two images in photoshop. I took one to capture the watch details, and another image for the lume. They were then stitched together on the computer:

    #2 - Image was created by a long exposure in a completely dark room (approx. 20s exposure time) then a burst of strobe light to expose the scene. By putting the camera on rear sync for the flash (flash triggers at the end of the exposure rather then the front) you capture the second hand at the end of the lume trail - rather than the other way around.

    Watch Photos:

    Current Stable

    Seiko Orange Monster SKX781K1
    Seiko Orange Samurai TI SBDA005
    Seiko Orange Sport Diver 6106-7107
    Orient Orange Mako
    Hamilton Khaki Aviation QNE
    Seiko M55 Sea Lion Date 6206-9000
    Seiko M77 Sea Lion Date 8305-1000 (needs balance wheel)
    Bulova 98C62 Marine Star Diver
    Oris XXL Regulator
    Schaumburg Watch - Lindburgh & Benson - Ellomatic #1 Chronograph
    Croton Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver (Valjoux 23)
    Omega Seamaster GMT 2234.50
    Longines Master Collection Retrograde L2.716.4

  9. #8
    Member waruilewi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    sf ca us

    Re: Photographing Tritium Lume watches

    Quote Originally Posted by cnmark View Post
    I always dug this shot of yours even though I've seen it now pretty often.

  10. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: Photographing Tritium Lume watches

    Fantastic shots liked them very much,These shots are the best watches photos i had ever seen,Thanks for sharing.

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