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Thread: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

  1. #1

    Default Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    Ive always wanted to shine a beam on to clouds, ive had lights e.g. numerous thors, hids but all have fell short of lighting up clouds.
    Do you know any light that would do so?
    P.s: im not willing to shell out to much $$$

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    Your basic 35 watt HID should be able to put a spot on a 2000' rain cloud, though I live in the desert so I never have the opportunity. The Maxabeam is what's usually used to paint clouds, though a good laser pointer is a lot cheaper.

  3. #3

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    If an airplane happens by that laser pointer could send you to jail. I wouldn't suggest pointing it "up"

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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by recDNA View Post
    If an airplane happens by that laser pointer could send you to jail. I wouldn't suggest pointing it "up"
    I'm no expert on lasers, but any airplane flying through clouds wouldn't be affected by the laser very much- they can't see squat anyways! If it's flying above the clouds, I'm not aware of any laser (yet) that can penetrate through that much water in the sky. If it's flying beneath the clouds, it's very easy to see an airplane because of its lights.

    My suggestion would be use common sense when using a powerful illumination tool, and be aware of where you're pointing it.
    Last edited by dudemar; 01-08-2012 at 07:35 PM.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    I think that it depends on how low the clouds are where you're shining your light. When I was on the shores of the Monterey Bay (California) on vacation, I was able to light up the low clouds with my Sunforce HID spotlight that I bought on sale for about $90. Further inland in the South Bay Area, I've had a hard time lighting up the clouds with it unless there were some really low clouds. On a normal cloudy night in the South Bay Area, my Sunforce is not powerful to reach the clouds.

    In think that in general, any light that can reach high clouds won't be cheap. By cheap, I mean less than $100.

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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    990Brogan, I share your pain. I have a 75W short-arc light which cost me a lot, and still does not put a spot on a cloud (unless you include fog). I have HIDs and LEDs with aspherics, and none got even close. I even bought a plasma light from Luxim, then discovered that it cannot be pointed above 90 degrees (ie upwards towards the sky).

    If I had to start all over again with this quest, I would buy a cheap 2KW arc light from aliexpress. Those monsters cost less than $1000, and will probably put a spot on a cloud before catching fire or blowing up.
    Malo odiat lux (Latin proverb - Evil hates light)

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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by JulianP View Post
    990Brogan, I share your pain. I have a 75W short-arc light which cost me a lot, and still does not put a spot on a cloud (unless you include fog). I have HIDs and LEDs with aspherics, and none got even close. I even bought a plasma light from Luxim, then discovered that it cannot be pointed above 90 degrees (ie upwards towards the sky).

    If I had to start all over again with this quest, I would buy a cheap 2KW arc light from aliexpress. Those monsters cost less than $1000, and will probably put a spot on a cloud before catching fire or blowing up.
    High Five on those cheap Chinese Advert searchlights. The performance is nothing to shout about with regards to power consumption/size vs candlepower, ie not very optimised relative to the high performance stuff that we see here. But physics still rules. You can even get a 10kW MLK, the ones they use in Beijing Olympics.




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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    Anyway you can search for SM5500 on google which will bring you results, 13" HID. It is actually 11.6" clear aperture at the front. I put in a 100W ballast to drive a 55W bulb (low performance Chinese Ebay type). Best not to exceed 3 mins burn. The light itself costed me 160 bucks shipped, not cheap. It is a budget light.

    Clouds are about 400+ metres high, and most probably 900m away. (that building beneath it is about 700m). Spotting 10km clouds need at least 1 billion cp perferably more.


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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    Thx for those... yes, it seems barely a week goes past without a report of some idiot shining a laser at an aircraft ... Maybe we ought to have a thread in the Lasers section with a list of reports of such incidents.

    It's just mentioned here as a friendly bit of advice to enthusiasts of cloud bounce lighting, that they need to be reasonably careful. It's not intended to warn people off responsible use, or good beamshots of long-throw lights, such as that good pic from 2100 in post #9 above.
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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by DM51 View Post
    Thx for those... yes, it seems barely a week goes past without a report of some idiot shining a laser at an aircraft ... Maybe we ought to have a thread in the Lasers section with a list of reports of such incidents.

    It's just mentioned here as a friendly bit of advice to enthusiasts of cloud bounce lighting, that they need to be reasonably careful. It's not intended to warn people off responsible use, or good beamshots of long-throw lights, such as that good pic from 2100 in post #9 above.
    When I ran my 60" Carbon Arc, I was always near or right under one of the approach paths into the local commercial airport. Running the light was not simply a set it and forget it operation. I had to specifically watch the area of the sky about 2-3 miles distant for airliners, helicopters and other small craft and when I spotted one, I would stop the lights' rotation and point the beam perpendicular to their flight path. At rush hour, this was about every 10 minutes. It's just common sense.
    WWII 60" Anti Aircraft Carbon Arc (Sold), Short Arcs: 1.6KW NightSun, 1KW VSS-3A, .8KW TrakkaBeam, 600 Watt M-134 Gun Light, 500 Watt X-500-14s, 500 Watt Starburst, 300 Watt Locators, Megaray, 150 Watt Set Beam & Communicator, Maxabeam Gen3, LarryK14@52V

  13. #13

    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    An easier answer is move to the PNW where the clouds are lower. I can spot clouds with an XP-G 3 nights out of 7.

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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    Anybody with half a brain knows pointing a laser at an airplane or chopper is a very stupid and dangerous thing to do. My question is if you are trying to light up a cloud with a regular non- laser light and your beam shines on a chopper or aircraft, can you get into trouble?
    Ken

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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by lingpau View Post
    My question is if you are trying to light up a cloud with a regular non- laser light and your beam shines on a chopper or aircraft, can you get into trouble?
    If they report it, yes; a police chopper will probably tell you not to do it discontentedly through its PA (I've actually heard this conversation before, not because of me, a couple blocks away; "GET THAT FLASHLIGHT OUT OF MY FACE"). You have to bear in mind that our big gun lights are very unconventional devices to own, a pilot isn't expecting to see anything brighter than an area security light while he's flying at night..

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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    If they report it, yes; a police chopper will probably tell you not to do it discontentedly through its PA (I've actually heard this conversation before, not because of me, a couple blocks away; "GET THAT FLASHLIGHT OUT OF MY FACE"). You have to bear in mind that our big gun lights are very unconventional devices to own, a pilot isn't expecting to see anything brighter than an area security light while he's flying at night..
    The pilot should have used his Nightsun searchlight (focused to a narrow beam) to get the point across.
    Malo odiat lux (Latin proverb - Evil hates light)

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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    Quote Originally Posted by JulianP View Post
    The pilot should have used his Nightsun searchlight (focused to a narrow beam) to get the point across.
    He was probably pointing it at whoever then shined their flashlight back; the same chopper has hit me with its searchlight, but I knew better than to have some stupid reaction to it..

    Aside from that, I'm not far from Edwards Air Force Base; an Apache flew over the house just a couple days ago - I dunno what his reaction would be to a spotlight, but I'm not going to find out..

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

    Interestingly enough, on new year's eve celebrations in Sydney someone pointed a laser at a police helicopter. The pilot used a high resolution camera to identify the culprit (at night in a huge crowd!) and beamed the pictures to ground officers who promptly found the guy and arrested him. This was reported on the news the following day, and I must say I was impressed.The guy pleaded guilty. I guess if satellites can read number plates, police helicopters would have no trouble taking poster-size photos of offenders' faces.
    Malo odiat lux (Latin proverb - Evil hates light)

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    Default Re: Cheapest light for cloud lighting

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