Sun damage, sunscreen, UV and photos

I have been playing with UV photography on a Full spectrum Canon EOS 600D (Canon EOS REBEL T3i) for some time. I wanted to see the UV markings on flowers that some animals / insects etc can see.

I discovered a world where paint patch ups, metal alloys and many other things also look unique and different when viewed in UV.

Early on I tried a sunscreen experiment where I painted half of a subjects face and then filmed the person, hoping to see the blocked UV. I was unimpressed. It caused a greyish hue or cast over the face, but nothing with any real impact.


Then, a little later,   Thomas leveritt posted a Sunscreen video on Youtube. I have been trying to replicate it ever since.

I figured that Thomas leveritt may have had more than a full spectrum conversion done to his camera. Maybe they also removed the Micro filters ? Perhaps he is using a quartz lens ?

Finally, I have similar results. Thanks to Antoni Łoskot for pushing me hard to find a solution. It turns out that with a Canon 50 mm 1.8 EF canon lens, I can get the same results.

UV Suncream Test (UV)

My understanding with UV has been turned on it’s head or maybe, Canon cheap lenses are *real* cheap.

I have been acquiring old lenses. lenses that are manual focus, with as few glass elements as able, before UV blocking multi coatings came into fashion. Lenses that need EF adaptors and limited to a specific focal range. I have then been adjusting the lens to move focus into the UV spectrum, from the Visual spectrum. Tedious and painful.

All of this so I can reduce ISO to 400 and time to 1/25 sec. But .. am I looking at this wrong ?

Maybe with the sunscreen video, you can have a higher ISO and slow shutter time as the subject is moving and you do not notice ? Maybe I am looking for a UV response in the spectrum too low ? Does sunscreen react at a higher wave length ?

so, using a Canon EF 50mm 1.8 lens with a 52 mm to 1.25 ” adaptor and Baader U filter, I get the results I need.

1/13 sec and ISO 800 looks a little blurry for a still shot but the Sunscreen is a black colour, not grey. This is what I want. Finally, the results I wanted !!!

I will have to test further but maybe my EL Nikkor lenses will work better for flowers ?

I have to use my EL nikkor with a bellows to get focus. With the canon EOS and EF lens config, I get Auto focus in the UV range !!! Awesome. Less fiddly.

I have tried a Canon L 24-70 mm and I needed ISO 3200 at 3-4 seconds to get any UV response. Maybe the difference of L professional series to “kit” cheap lens ?

Regardless, I am happy it works.

My Full spectrum mod was done by eeassa (Ehab) on eBay. I love it !!!


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Ham radio – Baofeng UV-5R

My experience so far with a Baofeng UV-5R.

I have a Baofeng UV-5R, Baofeng USB programming cable, handheld MIC and speaker.
It also has an ear + MIC cheap headset.

The first thing I realised is that the manual does not tell you everything.
For starters, to get the Firmware version you hold down 3 and power on. There are many more secrets.

Many of my answers are found on

So, this all came with a CD disk of drivers. Throw it away. Not only are there no instructions, confusing folder names on it but it is in Chinese.

The next hard lesson …. the handheld MIC/Speaker and USB cable do not work. It turns out they do not mate with the handset correctly.
This is a well known issue so the next step was to use a packing knife and whittle down the plastic connector end so that it plugs in better. (Glad it is a cheap radio as I am already voiding my warranty).

Now I install the Beofeng VIP programming software and get the error “Fail connect with transceiver”. This is also a well known issue caused by 2 things.

1) The wrong USB to Serial drivers for the programming cable (Not my issue this time)
2) You need the exact correct software for the firmware on the unit.

I had to download BF5R_VIP_v120725_BFB291_ENG(VB6).zip (You can find this on Google search).
I am using a Baofeng UV-5R Firmware BFB297, N5R-213.  (I see many others online with this firmware are looking to solve these same issues).

I also had to decrease the Serial speed from 9600 to 1200 bps (In the com port settings in device manager).

Using this software I proved the radio and programming cable are all working. Using any other Baofeng software with this radio failed to work. Interestingly Chirp worked well, straight away, no modifications.

So now I need to actally play with the radio. So if others out there have the same problems, I hope that this will help you realise
1) Almost everyone that has bought these has had to whittle down the plugs
2) Almost everyone has had to seek the right software

your unit is not likely faulty.

You just have to get everything right for it to work 🙂



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Be careful with Telstra Business Bundle plans (e.g. the DOT plan)

We have found that we unable to install SonicWALL firewalls or substitute modems using the Telstra Broadband plan known as DOT.
(Refer the plans (Digital Office technology – DOT) and clients are a broadband client.)

Telstra provided a Cisco SPA504G VOIP handset, Netgear DEVG2020 (ADSL modem, router, PSTN, Wireless etc.) with most of the settings blocked from view. (Customised firmware).

The client does not need the Cisco handset but needs a SonicWALL to SonicWALL VPN setup. I could add a Bridge in place of the DEVG2020 and get line sync (13mbit/1mbit) and I could set LLC PVC 8/35 and PPPOE on the SonicWALL but not raise the PPOE connection.

Basically Telstra have admitted (after 3 months and after many phone conversations) that whilst the connection is PPPOE and should work, it would not work with any other router or modem as it is bound to their provided Telstra hardware to make the Cisco phone handset work.

I asked them if we could revert the account back to normal DSL and remove the Cisco handset and they said changing the plan amounted to breaking the 24 month contract.

So, if you want normal DSL or to use your own equipment, don’t get this plan.

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Experimenting with turning my Canon EOS 5D camera into a wireless Access Point

I am tired of pulling out CF memory cards, loading them up in a reader and dumping down files to my PC.
I have a WFT wireless adaptor for it but it is clumsy and uses FTP to upload files to an FTP server.

It’s just not simple and something that words without prep time.

So, for under $40 (Aus), I bought a Toshiba FlashAir 32 Gb b/g/n SD card and an Extreme CF adaptor (SD to CF).
I setup the FlashAir as an Access point and it works really well in the CF adaptor in my older Canon EOS 5D.
It draws it’s power from the camera and the transmittion speed on N band is great.

I suddenly have a very compact wireless solution for my Canon EOS.

Now comes my next issue.

There are tools on Android and iOS to access the files and do bulk downloads. The only way to do it in Windows is in a web browser, one file at a time.

I was then pleasantly surprised to find that this is because Toshiba have opened up the windows space for developers and published the API’s.
Checking out the tools at

I found an awesome tool called snowy.

So far I am very happy with this wifi card, especially on Wifi N band.
I have turned my Canon EOS 5D into an Access Point and it has wifi passthrough so my normal Wifi can stay on (I turn if off when using Snowy).

I can share my files with other peoples devices easily and I can do a bulk download.

Awesome !


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New Virus in the wild ? (5 Sept 2014)

Whilst using Facebook, followed a link to an external Top 10 “type” photo page and up came a message full screen.

This was a solid white screen to all extremities of the screen. No task bar was showing. Task manager would not work. It was modal.

There was a single line of words in the middle of the screen:

“Windows Locked! Pay WMZ”.


“Windows locked! Your ID is 0xe1c88c76. Send 250 WMZ to ZXXXXXXXXXX and follow instructions.”

windows locked

No amount of Googling this has turned anything up.

Fearing the worst, I had the machines removed from the network immediately.

This has symptoms of a Cryptolocker or Cryptowall type malware but may actually be broken or not fully activated. I have had people look over their files on the network shares and nothing yet appears to be damaged, altered or encrypted.

Looking in the eventlog of the machine and working backwards from when the power was removed I have located a scheduled task that has been injected into the system.

The path to the executable currently contains nothing. The Trend Micro and other security tools have not yet found anything.

I logged all files on the machine that were changed at about the infection time (including prefetch files) and reviewed the internet history and registry entries.

(I note that this file at the same time, looks suspicious \Windows\Installer\{E8863755-AD45-4ABE-87DF-3C4AD785A364}\msiexec.exe)

I have been able to work out that the file came down via Java.

This is a copy of the task that was created :

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-16″?>
<Task version=”1.2″ xmlns=””>
<RegistrationInfo />
<LogonTrigger id=”Trigger1″>
<Actions Context=”Author”>
<Principal id=”Author”>

I have uploaded the .tmp files from he users Temporary folders into VirusTotal and nothing yet found.

I am also running an undelete tool over   C:\Users\User\AppData\Roaming\bOMPZQrb\tONjafFL\qnuFfTtR\


I will keep digging and report back. This does seem to be something new.

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UV Video with a modified DSLR (Preparing to look at skin with sun damage)

Recently there has been a huge interest in my YouTube post using a normal Canon EOS 600D camera and converting it to Full spectrum, then blocking all but UV.
Many enquirers want to find a cheap way to convert a camera and then show how skin is damaged by the sun and how Sun cream blocks the UV Radiation.

There has been so much interest that I thought I would blog about it.

(Example video at the end of this blog)

Firstly, be careful with UV as it is dangerous. My preference is to take photos (and now video) under normal Sunlight.
This obviously rules out indoor photography.

If you modify flashes, install overhead UV lighting (even LED UV lights) be aware you are likely subjecting your model to cancer causing levels of UV.
They should be wearing sunglasses and sun cream (Which is not productive for this kind of work).

You really need full sun direct onto your subject.

Unless you purchase a purpose built UV band pass camera with expensive Quartz lenses, you are going to need to buy various items, have them modified and manually assemble.

There are 2 types of camera modifications I will mention.

  • Converting a camera to Full spectrum
  • Converting a camera to UV only

I have elected to convert my camera to full spectrum as it is cheaper and more useful for other types of photography.
As per my YouTube video (, this means someone modified the camera. They open the camera up, remove parts and filters.

Modern cameras are designed to block UV and Infrared. They are built to restrict the captured light to that same light we can naturally see with our eyes. We need to undo all this.
The camera’s sensor is able to see much lower and higher in bandwidth than our eyes.
Once the camera is full spectrum, the sensor is opened up to its full range including the visual spectrum.

This is the first step, modifying the body. The next step is lens selection and UV band pass filters.
If you want contact details for this body modification, I will pass along details for Ehab Eassa whom I have do my work. He can also modify point and shoot cameras.

I have a Canon EOS 600D converted to full spectrum. Many debate that Nikon is better for UV as it is more sensitive but with recent cameras, I think it makes little difference.

If you elect to go to the trouble of converting a camera to UV only (the other option), the final UV image is much crisper. It is a far more expensive process.
It is more rewarding as the images are in greyscale (avoiding the distraction of the pinkish colour from Full spectrum conversions) and the detail is far better with better contrast.
This is because a professional has removed the micro lenses from the sensor. The Micro Lenses are responsible for breaking the detected image up into the colours that will produce a colour image.
They make images colourful but reduce contrast. Removing these mean the sensor can only work with image data in its native format, black and white.
I have contacts that can sell you a camera with this already done to it.


Now, you have your next battle. Lenses.
Since the mid 1980’s, almost all lenses have a multicoating on it to stop light bouncing around inside the lens body causing flaring. It also reduces UV. This coating is on the front of the glass.
The other problem is glass. The more glass elements that are in the lens, the more that UV is reduced.
The more that UV is reduced, the longer your exposure needs to be and the higher the ISO to get an image.
I can’t buy any lenses made for my canon body that will not block UV. All lenses do.
My choices are

  • Take a perfectly good lens and try and buff/scratch the UV multicoating off (The works but will reduce final image contrast).
  • Buy an old lens and fit it with adapters.
  • By a real UV lens made of quartz (Rare and very expensive). Nikon made one for a while.

I have gone with the second option. I have purchased old Enlarger lenses. These lenses are from the film days, used by film developers to expose film, to give you your little packet of photos.
They shine a light through the negative, through this lens, onto the final piece of film.
These lenses needed to be very faithful in reproducing the negative. They have no UV coatings and very few lens elements. They are at limited focal lengths.
I am using the EL Nikkor series of enlarger lenses, purchased from eBay.

I then have an adaptor to mount it to my canon mount.

As the lenses are not for Canon, the focal plane is not aligned with the correct focal distance so I use a bellows to get focus.


Now comes the easy part. You need a Bad pass filter for UV. This blocks all but UV. There is no visible light or IR leaking through my filter. Only UV. Even holding the lens to the sun, I can’t see through it.
I opted to buy a telescope accessory and some step up/step down rings to make it fit my lens. I have a BaaderU filter.

Now, you need to put it all together and can start looking at Video. at this point, this excersie will have easily cost over $1000 AUS/USD.


I note that in live view mode whilst talking a photo, I get a nice clean 720p video image, if I made the ISO high (6400), the shutter slow 8” and manually focus and set the lens to F4 or less (There is no electronic control of the lens settings).
The only issues are the sun reflecting off the live view screen made it hard to view and in live view and if you are not actively taking photos, it shuts off quickly.

In video mode, all the settings are Auto and I can’t see anything at all.
By setting the video mode to manual, I can control the ISO and the video format. I was able to record in 1080p. I also set the style to greyscale.

I now need to concentrate more on focus and use a tripod (You can zoom in in live view to check your focus).

Further experimentation

My other options I have yet to play with are Magic Lantern and recording from live view mode in 720p.

Here are the next steps to explore

Capture 720P HD With Any LiveView Capable Canon Camera

The Canon 600D is supported by magic lantern and has some additional video control
I will note that my sensor is not sensitive enough for high frame rate however, given the budget I am working with, the result is quite good.

Here is an example of what my setup can produce


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