Photosets and Projects, Tutorials and Techniques 0 comments on Streaks of Light

Streaks of Light

I have just got back a film that I used in my Polaroid 900Z – this is a fairly advanced compact camera from the end of the 1990s. In common with many later compacts it has a ‘night mode’ – this is a slow sync flash that fires the flash but also exposes for the ambient lighting – out in the street at night this can give some long shutter speeds. I have used this technique a lot, but have only recently started using it in night time streets.

Light Streaks

The image I was most looking forward to is ‘Streaking Bus in Headingley’ the first in this gallery. I fired the flash on this as the bus drove past, waiting until it was past me so as not to startle the drive. This has created an interesting image as the more defined area of the bus is at the rear of the streaks, with them moving out in front of it. This is the opposite to what we would normally look to do, which is why DSLRs often have a rear curtain flash that fires the flash as the shutter is closing, and allowing the trails to come towards the viewer. In this image, I feel it creates a nice effect. Continue Reading “Streaks of Light”

Tutorials and Techniques 0 comments on Abstract Impressionism – Part one: Motion

Abstract Impressionism – Part one: Motion

Inspired by a recent article on Digital Photography School I would also like to present some ideas for shooting beautiful impressionist images. Often in photography we strive to create realistic images, which are super-sharp and capturing what the eye actually sees. Of course, what the eye sees can vary – in her article Anne McKinnel talks of ‘the impression a scene leaves in your mind when you glance at it quickly and then look away before giving your eyes a chance to focus’, but of course the eye plays other tricks than this. Think of a fast moving train, and the streaking lines – I have read that a shutter speed of 1/60s most closely captures what the eye sees (though this is very different from the ‘shutter speed’ of the eye). But think of other tricks the eye can play – squinting so that images become blurred, the loss of perception at the peripheral vision and so on, or how things look when you are drunk. Learning to use some of these tricks can create beautiful abstract images that play with the mind.

Moving Subjects

Long Exposure Image of light streaks
A600 – Canon EOS 1000D and Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 at 18mm; 2s, f/8, ISO 400.

The classic long exposure technique is to place your camera steady on a tripod, or some other convenient surface and shoot a long exposure image. This is often used for traffic trails as in this image of the A660 as it leaves Leeds. This was taken during the rush hour traffic with an exposure of 2 seconds. I balanced the camera on the barrier rail. As you can see, the traffic has been rendered all but invisible with just its lights evident as light trails, and the people walking along the street are ghostlike and transparent, but the steady surface leaves the rest of the scene sharp. Continue Reading “Abstract Impressionism – Part one: Motion”

Tutorials and Techniques 0 comments on Image Tutorial – ‘Heading North, Heading Home’

Image Tutorial – ‘Heading North, Heading Home’

Today I would like to share a tutorial about how I made one of my recent images – ‘Heading North, Heading Home’. My idea for this image was something a little crunchy – not fully crisp and bright, but blending the dirt of a northern city, with the light trails of the moving train. Something slightly film-esque (yes, I know I should shoot to film if I want it to be like film, but this is what I had to hand when I took the original shots) with a dark feel to it.

The Image

I took this image from the window of the London Kings Cross to Leeds train, at about 10pm, in May – there was still a big glow from the city lights in the sky, a bit of cloud, bathing everything in a nice warm orange glow.I took this using a Canon EOS 1000D and Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 poked out of the window of a moving train.

I will, at this point add a brief note. Sticking your head out of moving trains can be dangerous, as my girlfriend reminded me at length afterwards, though I reminded her that while I might risk my life for my art, I wouldn’t risk my camera. But, being serious, this is not something to mess about with. There is a reasonable amount of clearance between two trains, and the between the train and most track-furniture, but you need to be sensible. Do not actually start doing this when the train is moving. Peek carefully along the side of the train, don’t go sticking your head right out. Listen carefully to make sure a train is not coming past, from both directions. When you are ready, hold the camera in place with as little of you out of the window as possible – don’t keep your head stuck out looking through the view finder, use live view. You do this at your own risk… Continue Reading “Image Tutorial – ‘Heading North, Heading Home’”