6-Inch Tesla Coil Photos

I shot this series of photographs in January 2002. The camera is a Pentax ME Super 35mm SLR, with PENTAX-A 50mm lens, f4, full manual mode. I used a tripod and a cable release to prevent camera wiggle. I experimented with 0.5 sec, 1 sec, and 2 sec shutter speeds (I have no idea which images were shot at which speed). I used cheap, generic, ASA200 color print film. The only light in the room was from the Tesla coil. I used regular photo processing at the Base Exchange with no special instructions. Click on the images for a bigger picture.

I scanned the prints at 600 dpi on a Visioneer 4800usb scanner. I used a photo editor to resize the images to a more reasonable dimension, because on the 600 dpi originals, I could just about see individual atoms on the Tesla coil. I squeezed them down to about 25% of their original size, and they are still pretty big.

The coil is my 6" x 30" inch pole pig setup. I've intentionally dumbed it down with a dinky 4" x 20" dryer duct toroid, and left the welder ballast leads open-circuit to keep the 240vac current down to about 7 amps. This was a safety move due to excessive strikes on the walls and ceiling. Even so, I still get sparks up to 60 inches.