Adding Rainbow-like Color (In-camera)


A Recipe for

An in-camera, no post-processing required, creative technique

to make images like this -

starting with this

Make attention getting creative images limited only by your imagination. And – for you photo club competitors, a way to stand out from the crowd in your club’s “straight photography” category (if any of those categories still exist today in the kingdom of Lord Adobe). Click any image to enlarge.

I got this idea from a post at DIY Photography. My version is a work in progress, but I decided to post this today while the sample image (from my post yesterday) is still fresh in readers’ minds.


Ingredients -

The basic ingredients are shown in the following image. Details are provided below the image.

  1. Your image displayed on a monitor
  2. Clear plastic held in front of the monitor (a CD case cover here; the only plastic I could locate on short notice)
  3. A lens with a circular polarizer attached
  4. A tripod (exposure time may exceed your hand holding ability)


Directions -

  1. With the setup as shown above, rotate the CP. You will see the screen change from a normal appearance to totally black – except where the plastic is. The plastic color will turn into rainbow-like hues.
  2. Anything that appears on the monitor, behind the plastic, will be covered with the “rainbow”.
  3. Adjust your CP to suit your taste and shoot.
  4. Experiment with shutter speeds (and/or apertures) because certain speeds will pick up moire patterns and similar artifacts due to the monitor’s operation
  5. You may have better luck without a lot of external light shining on your setup
  6. I used a macro lens, but almost any lens (plus the CP which is essential) should work


You might get some argument as to whether this is truly an in-camera technique – but clearly it is. I’ll update this post shortly, after experimenting a bit more and working out a few kinks and details.

In general, using the monitor as a background, especially when shooting glass, is a great technique for making creative images – especially abstracts. Here are a few examples.


#1 – Setup – you can display anything and everything on the monitor. Depending on the application used to show the image, you can use its rotate & zoom features to get just what you want displayed on the monitor.


#2 – Cut glass, as shown above, can lead to images like the following -


#3 – More interest can be added by placing a piece of textured glass in front of the monitor.

The monitor background for this image is just a simple rectangle made up of three rectangles – red, green and blue – rotated 45 degrees in the application which was displaying the rectangle on the monitor.


#4 – Things can be made even more interesting by shooting glass still life’s which are placed in front of a piece of glass like shown above. The order of objects from near to far are – camera (on tripod), still life subject, textured glass, monitor. You could easily spend a day with the same subject/glass combo and never make the same image twice due to different orientations of subject, glass (a slight movement in any direction will change the above image dramatically), and image displayed on the monitor. Here are several antique medicine bottles that I was playing with (note – usually, the cheaper the glass the better the effect; go to a dollar store or a Salvation Army store) -


4a – The obvious -


4b – Change things slightly -


4c – Bottle + Textured Glass -


That doesn’t quite exhaust the possibilities ;-) but you get the idea.

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