projects

12 Months, 12 Projects – September Lightpainting

Withouth much enthusiasm, I decided to do some lightpainting. Project lightpainting had actually been on the program some months ago, but when I thought up my projects, I hadn’t realised that in summer, it’s not dark until close to midnight. Not practical. For several months, an excess of light was a good excuse to delay lightpainting.

It seemed to me such a complicated project. Where do I find a room that is sufficiently dark even at night in the fall? There seem to be a street lights, equipment LEDs, passing traffic, and what have not just about everywhere. So much hassle. But well, you cann’t be postpone chores forever, so with healthy reluctance I decided to use the last two instax pictures that were still in a camera. Just to get it over with.

So I turned off all the lights, faced the camera to the back of the room, away from the street light, put it on a tripod and opend the shutter in the B-mode. With a bicycle light I drew some spirals. I didn’t expect anything to come out of it, just wanted to be able to say: tried it, didnt work. But to my amazement, I saw a very small light on the picture. Well, allright then, I used the last shot, moved my light a bit slower for more exposure. And lo and behold! A lightpainting! Not the most exciting one, but hey, so much more than I had expected.

Lightpainting. Diana F + Intant Back with Fuji Instax Mini film.

Lightpainting. Diana F + Intant Back with Fuji Instax Mini film.

Well, and then it actually became fun. I still didn’t really feel like going out looking for a nice location, or complex experimenting, but a bit of tinkering on a rainy Saturday afternoon is allright. And I always wanted to try lightstencils. This site tells you how to handle that, with much better example photos than my final result.

First, just some ordinary light paintings with my bicycle lights, to get in the mood.

Lightpainting. Ricoh WG-4 on fireworks mode (F2.8, 4 sec, 125 ISO).

Lightpainting. Ricoh WG-4 on fireworks mode (F2.8, 4 sec, 125 ISO).

Lightpainting. Ricoh WG-4 on fireworks mode (F2.8, 4 sec, 125 ISO).

Lightpainting. Ricoh WG-4 on fireworks mode (F2.8, 4 sec, 125 ISO).

Lightpainting. Ricoh WG-4 on fireworks mode (F2.8, 4 sec, 125 ISO).

Lightpainting. Ricoh WG-4 on fireworks mode (F2.8, 4 sec, 125 ISO).

As you can see, I decided to do my project with the digicam. Even though my digicam doesn’t have full manual settings (I used the fireworks setting), the advantage is that I have not lost heaps of expensive film to some half-assed experiments. That’s a big plus, because the light stencil I cobbled together needed some test runs before it gave an even slightly acceptable result. Kind of. My flash gives so much light that I had to paste more and more layers of paper behind my template, because it would otherwise become an overexposed spot instead of a recognizable figure. But eventually there was a picture to see.

I kept adding more layers of paper between test shots because the was still too much light.

My stencil is a bit on the small side, but when you zoom in, the bat is actually recognizable. In any event, it raises hope for a second version, which is bigger, and on another flash. This time, I used my standard Lomography flash, but that’s is a bit small and awkward to use in this setup. It also produces a huge amount of light. In addition, my stencil was not very light-tight at the back, which made my hand and the box in which the stencil visible.

Lightpainting with light stencil. Ricoh WG-4 on fireworks mode (F2.8, 4 sec, 125 ISO).

Lightpainting with light stencil. Ricoh WG-4 on fireworks mode (F2.8, 4 sec, 125 ISO).

Still, this result is so encouraging that I might actually build a bigger version for one of the other flashes in my collection. A good excuse to use those as well.

Allright, as a bonus here’s another instax picture. I ♥ film, after all.

Lightpainting. Diana F + Intant Back with Fuji Instax Mini film.

Lightpainting. Diana F + Intant Back with Fuji Instax Mini film.

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12 Months, 12 Projects – July: Up and Down

For my July project, I had decided on photography from extreme angles. That is, shoot straight up and shoot from just above the ground. This was actually inspired by those pictures of skyscrapers from below. You know the type, straight edged pictures with a bright blue sky between three or four imposing buildings bending to the center of the picture. Or those pictures straight up from Parisian courtyards. A whole alphabet has even been created from pictures like that. The close-to-the-ground part of the project was a sort of saftey, in case I didn’t find cool shots straight up.

I must admit, I didn’t really try my best this month. I wanted to use the Holga, because I have decided that August is Holga month on my blog. That limited the possibilities a bit. In the absence of too much angle of view, the those high-rise building did not really work out. I don’t have any handy skyscrapers or quaint little courtyards close by. Our local office buildings are not so high or close together that it makes for an interesting picture. Some old alleys in the inner city proved to be slightly interesting, and the art at Amsterdam sculpture event Art Zuid produced a nice straight up photo, and that was more or less it.

The low pictures were easier to realize. Though I have to learn to keep my camera straight, since in half of my pictures the horizon is skewed. I really should put the camera on the ground for these kind of pictures. Half a meter above the ground doesn’t quite produce the extreme picture I was looking for.

Well, all in all, not a very spectacular result. Nevertheless, it has encouraged me to look for other points of view more often. For example, when I didn’t just took a regular frontal view of the monument at the center of the Netherlands, but also tried an extra low point of view. I probably wouldn’t have done that if it handn’t been for my project. I wouldn’t have photographed the artwork either, and have missed a fairly nice picture. It once again made me realize that it’s good to think about things in a different way. That’s another win.