Friday, 18 September 2009

On the photography front...

I've been keeping busy on the photography side of things as well. I've managed to get through a couple more photography projects for the Overclockers UK monthly photo competition with moderate success.

The July theme was '5 Seconds' with the idea that all the photos should be taken using a long exposure technique of 5 seconds length or more. After toying with a whole set of cliched ideas using light trails, light painting, stars in the night sky and car trails I had an epiphany. Ok that's a little white lie, I nicked the idea off Top Gear, the motoring show on the BBC, where they were showing what I think was a new Lambo or Maserati or similar. They had a neat effect using neon tubes where they were waved along the length of the car but you could only see the light trails as they were being made. Being rather taken by the idea, I thought I'd have a go.

So I jumped on Ebay and found myself a portable neon lamp for around £20 which I thought looked around perfect for the job:

The next trick was to head up onto the roof of my apartment block and start experimenting. My initial idea was to run along the length of the roof and make some random light trails but this soon proved itself to be impractical for a couple of reasons. The first of which was a lack of context, i.e. the ribbons of light were neither coming nor going anywhere. The next issue was that as I walked/ran with the light my movement would translate into the ribbons, so for every step I made the ribbon would bob up and down. Now lacking a steady cam rig there wasn't really any solution to that so I changed the scene a bit and also the distance that I had to cover in the time span allotted.

Shifting the camera around to face the roof entrance to the building I cottoned onto what was to be the final composition and also the answer to my 'where are the ribbons going' problem. My other issue was resolved by forcing myself to be as smooth as possible. After around about 5-10 attempts I was losing the light and decided to call it a night, not before turning around and discovering that I had been entertaining some of the occupants of the hotel next door... oh well these are the sacrifices we make for our art!

So end result? It is a combination of 5 exposures all shot at around 25 seconds a shot and composited in Photoshop.

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