Time is my friend, and yet, time is my enemy.
As I mentioned in the Saturday LE seminar sit-down, I have been shooting long exposure photography for a very long time. As a matter of fact, from the time that it was called Time Exposure rather than Long Exposure. And yet all you've had, until now, is my word for it.
As a result of all of those years of photographing, I have many shoots in my history and it takes time to locate them! and who has time?? and OMG!!! I have over 88,000 images in my library!
I had a great if, for me, exhausting time with the LE workshop with moderate success. I got a great deal out of it- not the least of which is to USE that damned viewfinder cap that's forever hanging from the camera!!
I learned I am capable of being a bush-whacker (although the bushes did more of the whacking!).
I learned that being "the old guy" is not always disadvantageous, but definitely has its drawbacks.
I learned that a heat index of 118° is not to be trifled with.
And most importantly, I re-learned that it is always fun to work with like-minded and friendly photographers!
While I know I have that first short time exposure of the traffic light in motion *somewhere*, I sadly don't know where. Probably in a "safe" place...
Most of my work is, in some form or another, related to lights. It is only recently that daylight LE has drawn my interest. As such, much of what follows is night work. I've also gotten more involved in light painting, most often using the light source as my brush and the sensor as canvas but also in the more traditional sense where I apply my choices of color to an existing scene.
As I’ve been looking over my portfolio of shots for this, I see that I am a “dabbler.” I get ideas and I work on them and store what I’ve learned for the next opportunity. (Reminder- put on that DAMNED Viewfinder Cap!). So what you will see will be many different approaches to Long/Time Exposures.
I have always been attracted to capturing night lights and, in my film days, was most often caught in the daylight/tungsten conundrum. With film, it was costly to shoot a lot, and while changing rolls in the middle was possible it was both awkward and risky. If I had daylight film in the camera, dark night shots were limited to the half hour or so of Faerie Light (now called the blue hour) before they showed an odd greenish cast.
The postcards with traffic light streams or night views of NYC forever fascinated, but who had the right equipment, time or money?
The advent of Photoshop and digital scanning started to change all of that and slowly I found opportunities to try out some of my ideas.
One of my first experiments was working with Sparklers. Courtesy of my extended family, my son and his friends were willing conscripts in my experiments.
When they were in their pre-teens, I gave them all sparklers in a backyard and had them bounce & run around in both random and guided moves. I shot several rolls and, a week and a half later, got the scanned images from Kodak.
Later that year I acquired glow sticks and did the same thing.
The next step was real fireworks. We look out over midtown and downtown Manhattan across from the East River. When we are lucky, the 4th of July Fireworks show is presented on our side of Manhattan and we get a spectacular show!
In addition, The New York Mets hold several Firework's Nights. Because of the round nature of the ballpark, it seemed fitting to use my fish-eye lens.
I've found that amusement parks make great subjects because of all of the lights in motion. In consecutive years I shot with, first year- film, next year- digital. Most of the shots were 15 seconds or so.
The final shot in the sequence was luck as I caught a chopper taking off.
That second year, we also had that rare thunderstorm without rain. Lots of cloud to ground lightning to our south and a nice view from our second floor balcony.
Shows like that are rare in NYC, so I grabbed the tripod and patiently took lots of 15 second exposures. I had my own cheering section, too!
The root of my LE interest is night photography. In addition to the above amusement piers, there are all sorts of possibilities when artificial lights are available.
From out of my window to Aruba to The Louvre and vicinity and finally, North Charleston, here is small sampling...
A natural outgrowth of night time Long Exposure is daytime- as in waterfalls and water in general.
The waterfalls were in Hawaii; the pool and ocean shots were in Aruba, except for the last 3 which were in Monterey; the fountain was in Paris and the last 3 were in South Carolina.
The past few years have seen me using the camera motion as a brush. I look for interesting light sources and then open the shutter with a higher f-stop and move the camera in different ways. The key, of course, is in the source- the shape and color.
When I walked into the Chihuly Museum in Seattle I had no idea that it would be an amazing source for Camera-Motion Light Painting. The shapes and the colors of the glass were extraordinary and there was sufficient light to make the images jump.
When I joined the Long Exposures Facebook group I was introduced to a new world of challenges. Most significantly that of Light Painting a scene caught my eye. I am just beginning my explorations into it and having a ball!
...and finally, my most recent foray into LE and Light Painting is in "Spirography." Some of you might remember from your childhood the weird gear-like contraption designed to make single and multi-color geometric designs. This is *my* lights version inspired by Jason D. Page.
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