Here is an early setup in testing showing the less than full sized frame of the tree. By making sparks between the rod that I control and the frame, I should get a tree shape. Various testing was done to work out the best techniques.
The star will be as high as possible. To do this I have had to have a much higher support than before. To do this I have strung a rope between two trees about 20 feet at the ends. This won't support a large weight but may stabilize a tall structure.
As a test I have mounted my Nikon D70s camera in a small Faraday cage so I can take a picture looking directly down on the Tesla coil. This "skycam" is shown suspended about 17 feet in the air ie 10 feet above the TC using a wide angle lens. It is in a custom support which is rain/sun/EMF resistant yet able to pass IR from the font to allow the long distance remote control to work. Also the flash can be used.
This star is more floral than astronomical so I didn't use it. It hasn't been as star shaped as I would have liked. Everything except the sparks are blurred because there was wind moving the camera - even at 10pm when I had my final shot. Hence the round toroid and the circle of the breakout points are odd shapes. So on to further planning for a better star using the frame method.
This shows the frame with a star pattern held there by wire and fishing line. You can't see the star well as the line is very fine so it doesn't show up in the photo. The tree is a bit smaller than I had hoped for but the whole thing is still 15ft high.
This shows me holding a 3.2 m (10 ft) fishing rod with the end wired to the Tesla coil. I use this to place sparks to the frame. There is an earthed cable clipped on halfway. Probably unnecessary but is a safety measure. There is also a fine earth wire not seen here trailing between me and the TC.
The photos above show some early results with a green filter. The different colors are achieved by using my color filter setup. This gets changed during exposure and in the final shot the tree trunk sparks are red, the tree shaped sparks are green and the star sparks are golden.
This photo shows the color filter setup in front of the camera that will need to be rotated manually at the correct time to change colors.
This photo shows the black screen that I am behind for almost all of the exposure except for the flash at the end. Not really sure if it was needed.
Merry Christmas! This is a single photo from a Nikon D70s digital camera and is a 91 second exposure of a real functioning Tesla coil and is the result of perhaps 50 hours of preparation. It is cropped but otherwise completely untouched. It is not, repeat not, photoshopped. It does however achieve the result using special effects which I will explain.
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