Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bending a Note

You’re going to find below a series of photographs that are called “Bending a Note.” The important fact about these photographs is that they were taken on film, with no assistance or post processing via software. They were taken before such software was available.

The effects are done via time exposure and the stealing and retooling of a technique from scientific photography called “optical scanning micrography.” In this case, a thin slit of light is directed across the lens point of view at exactly the point of sharp focus. A time exposure is started, and the subject is moved slowly through the slit of light. In other words, instead of scanning the light across the subject, the subject is moved (“scanned”) through the thin light plane. The light plane is entirely within the depth of field of the lens. Another odd effect of this technique is that long subjects have no perspective distortion. Since all parts of the subject are the same distance from the lens when exposed to the slit of light, the rear of the specimen is not smaller, because it is not farther away. Are you’re eyes crossed yet? They should be.

The most difficult part of doing this on a larger scale was generating the thin sheet of light. I used two slide projectors, one on each side of the subject, each with a slide taped with metallic tape, with about an 1/8 inch slit in the center for light to pass through. By carefully positioning the projectors, a sheet of light about .25 inches thick was thrown, the flat side of which faced the projector lens. After opening the shutter of the camera for a time exposure I walked toward the lens with a guitar in my hand. Any motion that isn’t directly towards the lens causes distortion, a very useful feature to my mind. So, by now I’ve unclearly explained everything.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

La Taza Coffee House, Belmont, Charlottesville

Click above to see a larger image

This was taken from the front of Fitzgerald Tire’s towards “downtown Belmont, in Charlottesville. A car drove through during the time exposure, and the headlights left a streak of light leading from downtown Belmont past the La Taza Coffee House.
I took this using a wide angle camera intended for architectural photography, a Plaubel Makina Pro Shift. It uses 120/220 roll film, and the lens can be shifted for perspective correction. The film was Kodak Portra 160nc, which is a low contrast color negative film, and more importantly, was on sale at the time. The exposure was two minutes at F-16. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, don’t worry about it.