Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Car - Rain


We don’t tend to picture ourselves in the actual environment we’re in. Instead, we think of ourselves in a more ideal setting, perhaps our porch, living room, perhaps hiking our favorite trail. However, if we live where the largest percentage of people do, we spend much of our time surrounded by concrete and cars. If we commute in a city, we end up spending a significant time on this earth behind the wheel.

Some time ago I started a set of pictures that I called the “Car Series.”

The concept "automobile" is so deeply ingrained in our daily consciousness that we've really lost all possibility of having a real perspective on it. In that sense it has become rather like the concept, "self." If you doubt this, remember the last time your car broke down and your mental state at the time. So that's why the car features prominently in these photos.

I had some goals in mind in using time exposures in a moving vehicle. , I wanted to capture more time than the traditional instant a still picture captures. Another photographic goal was to find a way to add more fluidity to photographic images.
There was also a pure desire to experiment. The nature of the time exposure/motion technique meant that I would not really know what had been recorded on the film until it was developed. I knew what the setup would record, but had no idea what conditions would be recorded on my particular trip through the city.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Under the Belmont Bridge - Charlottesville

Click above for a larger view

"Belmont Bridge"

This is a photograph of the underside of the Belmont Bridge, before the railroad moved to block access. Now it's fenced. That turf in view on the other side of the tracks has not changed much in the years I've lived here. That includes the older two story building visible between the pillars. Sometimes called the Beck Cohen building because of the sign on it, it is now also sporting a “for sale” sign. This was taken with a Plaubel Makina Pro-Shift 6X9 cm., on Tri-X.

The Downtown Mall had tough times long after it became pedestrian. The road was removed a long time ago, but that did not really revitalize the area. Instead there was something like a “tipping point.” Enough outdoor restaurant seating, a feeling of a secure setting, and more people at all hours, led to what it is today. Plus, Charlottesville changed from “the Hook,” (a place where you went to UVA, and then moved away, to an urban career center) to a place with enough business activity to support “a life.” Jeez, whatever that is . . . If I ever get some time off, I’ll have to look into it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Painting with Light – Outer Banks

Click on the above image for a larger view

The cottage I rent in the Outer Banks is one of the oldest cottages in the area. It won’t be there for long. It’s on an ocean front lot and the owner passed away several years ago. All the other houses around it are new and tower many stories above it. They are there so a hurricane can have something to sink its teeth into. That this is the oldest ocean front cottage attests to the wisdom of its design.

The house is surrounded by small boardwalks that are weathered. The cottage has quite a few resident toys and is obviously peopled by families with young children. The photo above was taken of a space between two walks where some shells had been arranged, probably by a child.

I’ve taken a few at this cottage using the flashlight and time exposure method mentioned in other posts. The benefits of this approach are many, such as; as many apparent light sources as desired, oblique lighting that works well for highlighting textures and the ability to paint/light selectively so there are plenty of areas that are close to the darkest tones. Click here to see a detail view of a light-painted area.

This time I tried a different approach to exposure. I estimated based on one second worth of exposure at F16, but I used a digital camera for a series of test exposures, before replacing it with a Pentax 6X7cm camera with a wide angle lens. This is a major improvement over just blindly shooting a bunch of negatives with fingers crossed.