A germ-free camera

Sometimes while on assignment we come across interesting obstacles to overcome.

Today I photographed a new Xenex machine. The unit blasts pulses of ultra-violet light into a room to sanitize the area. Each blast of light lasts micro-seconds and, as an added challenge, I wasn’t allowed to stay in the room while the machine was going off.

This last rule lead to a bit of a scramble with myself and two other photographers pooling our knowledge of lesser-used camera functions to try to get a good shot of the light. Fortunately, officials at Stamford Hospital were very patient!

After a few failed attempts we finally figured the best settings to use for the best shot at capturing the light. I focused my camera on the machine and set up the camera to shoot 100 bursts of 9 images with one second delay in between bursts (so the memory card can buffer). Each shot was taken at 1/60th of a second at f/7.1. When Mark Stibich of Xenex told us the machine was about to turn on I hit the “ok” button to start the shooting as the photographers exited the room and shut the door.

We could hear our cameras clicking away as we hoped it would catch the light going off.

It’s always interesting to face something new and use a function of the camera news photographers rarely utilize. In the end I’m glad I was able to capture the purple-colored light so we can all see what happens when the machine turns on. Without going blind, of course.

Lindsay Perry