June 23, 2010 at 10:28 pm #1889
The shot’s idea I wanted was something conveying the sense of ‘All Night Long’ visually, without the time-exposure feel. The clock on the wall revealing the passing time (dinner at 8:40pm, photography reading at 1:05am, computer surfing at 4:20am [and yes, that time was in homage to past ‘vices’]) conveys this well, I think.
In the June, 2009 issue of “Popular Photography” (shout out to Aunt Janet for giving me a whole bunch of photography magazines! Thanks!), there’s a ’20 New Skills’ article, one of which is ‘Making crowds disappear’ (pg 57-58). They suggest an ND lens, which allows for super-long exposures, during which people would move and crowds would disappear.
They also state that in truly dim environments, you may not need such a filter. So I did some test runs, and sure enough; my apartment (when I threw up a piece of heavy denim fabric over the window during daytime testing) was plenty dark enough with single 60w-equivent bulbs that swift movements using high f/stops disappeared. Plenty moreso with only a computer screen for lighting.
Off to Walmart, I bought the cheapest 200-thread count sheet pieces I could ($3-5), which conveniently enough came with their own little cloth baggies containing them. I used two of these for lens covers between scenes, just in case (and will again; quite handy).
For a previous contest, I’d bought 3 4′ x 1′ mirrors for $5 each (which didn’t get used). A little duct tape and I had a folding blind; the fitted black sheet and some sewing pins (I sew, BTW) and I had a decent blackdrop to keep some areas dark while I was exposing others. This minimized the ‘ghosting’ in each shot element, which I’d seen prevelant in other similar shots and wanted to avoid.
I used pillowcases for a smaller version, hung onto an artist’s easel (I paint, too) for a second blind as well.
Positioning the blinds was a matter of composing the shots first; I used duct tape to mark the floor where needed.
From there, it was composing the shot; cooking (real meat and veggies; good thing the roast started out rock-solid frozen as it was out for about 6 hours cumulatively), reading (with beer), and web surfing (also with beer, and viewing the farktography forum, btw, for the overall bright screen).
To get the wide angle I need in my 15×20 foot studio living space, I used my Tamron 28-55 set at 32 (was supposed to be 28, but slipped), plus a Digital Concepts “high definition” .5x wide angle lens, and an inverted 2x telephoto lens. And more duct tape. Duct tape will save the world one day.
I malign these two lenses as being ghetto (they came with the camera package on e-bay), but they do work well, and in tandem took me to an 8mm somewhat fishy-eyed lens, which I think worked well for the composition.
From there, the process was as follows:
1. Position small and large blind, far right for the desk/bed area, plus center/right for reading nook. Move and set the clock for ‘evening’ shot (8:40)
2. Turn out all the lights, and use the remote switch to start the exposure.
3. Go to kitchen, pre-pose, turn on overhead oven light, re-pose, hold for 32 seconds, turn off the light.
4. Veil camera lens, use light from laptop to reposition large blind to block kitchen area and reveal reading nook, reposition clock/time to 1:05, unveil lens.
5. Position self in recliner, turn on light, reposition and hold for 32 seconds, turn off light.
6. Veil camera lens, use light from laptop to reposition large blind to block kitchen and reading area, move/reset clock to 4:20, semi-close laptop lid, remove smaller blind, unveil camera lens.
7. Position self, open laptop, turn on light on computer desk (and keep arm there, behind the computer), hold for 60 seconds, turn off light, hold for another 60 seconds (for computer lighting effect), lower laptop lid, cover lens. (The longer exposure time had to do with lighting angle).
8. Check the camera for how long this all took (11min, 31 secs for photo used in contest), end exposure, and wait. And wait. And wait. The only drawback to RAW is the waiting after.
It’s pretty obvious that the shot is not perfect. Blind positioning, while much better than earlier attempts (9 of them), is still evident at the scene ‘seams’; the choice was either this, or have a black line where lines overlapped, which to me was more unacceptable. Do I wish I’d done better? Sure. But you should see some of the other shots. This was good.
In the shot exposure I definitely should have more carefully positioned the blind, as the computer light lit the front a bit; this shows up under the painting (yes, I did paint that; thank you), but could have been prevented. But it came down to three things that made me accept the shot:
1. Composition difficulties; include blind overlap, forgeting to move/change the clock, being in the way of the clock for ‘surfing’, exposure times creating too light/too dark effects, my inability to hold still, etc.
2. Overall feel felt good. I held pretty still in all three frames, the lighting is acceptably even, the clocks are all readable.
3. Beer. Them Budweisers ain’t just props. There was a new one for each composition (because in between takes I could open the fridge for another without screwing anything up with the fridge light). Shots lasted from 7 to 15 minutes, with smoke breaks in between some of them. Changes were made, plans rearranged, etc. This all took time, and it’s thirsty work.
Here’s a link to the RAW file (11 megs), if you want to see the whole shot. Notice the lens set up was so heavy it dragged the image up on the sensor’s view, hope that doesn’t cause me any permanent damage!!
smaller jpg version, 3.2 meg:June 23, 2010 at 11:39 pm #30533linguineParticipant
Everybody, look at the kitties!
June 24, 2010 at 12:18 am #30534KestranaParticipant
Also your airplane picture is pretty cool ravnosticJune 24, 2010 at 12:20 am #30535
Fair game. My cat’s cooler than your cat.June 24, 2010 at 12:21 am #30536
Also your airplane picture is pretty cool ravnostic
Yeah, I liked that one, too. Sadly I had more to choose from this time than I could use. The B-sides will come into play elsewhere.June 24, 2010 at 12:22 am #30537orionidParticipant
Did someone say kittehs?June 24, 2010 at 12:25 am #30538orionidParticipant
Also: Rav, you jumped on a threadjack of your own thread? I don’t even know what to call that!June 24, 2010 at 12:26 am #30539
“Hrrm. Deez smells good.”
“Do dey tastes as good?”
“You got a problem wid dat?”June 24, 2010 at 12:31 am #30540
Also: Rav, you jumped on a threadjack of your own thread? I don’t even know what to call that!
If you can’t beat them…take the sting out of their fun.
And I have 1000 cute Blerticus pictures which elsewise wil rarely be seen.
“Fly, and be free!!”June 24, 2010 at 7:45 am #30541
What, no more kizzen heads? What kind of hijacking is this?June 24, 2010 at 12:29 pm #30542linguineParticipant
Since you asked for it heres most of the rest of my cat pics from my flickr stream.
June 24, 2010 at 1:52 pm #30543
linquine; that cat looked PISSED about the snow, lol.June 24, 2010 at 7:35 pm #30544Zero_ExponentParticipant
I love when hard work actually pays off. That shot turned out great, ravnostic!
Everybody, look at the kitties!
You got Caturday in my Farktography!
June 24, 2010 at 10:53 pm #30545
thanks, 0EJune 25, 2010 at 2:40 pm #30546LeicaLensParticipant
No pussy shots to post, but I loved your “At home” long exposure shot, rav. It was both cool as a shot and also kinda funny, in a voyeuristic sort of way.
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