Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jack in the Pulpit (Painting with Light)

Our backyard is full of Jack in the pulpit plants, or Arisaema Triphyllum. Almost all of them produced the trademark flowers simultaneously. I find them somewhat creepy, so I’m not inclined to celebrate the flowering.

I thought it might be fun to do a time exposure and paint one of the plants with light. If you haven’t seen this written up elsewhere on this blog, here’s how it goes. In complete, or near complete, darkness, the shutter is opened and locked open. Then, a small flashlight, which has been modified with some black opaque paper to narrow the beam, is used to selectively illuminate the subject. Usually I move the flashlight beam back and forth over the subject, which is a bit like painting. The light brightness I modulate by closing my hands over the front, muting the light selectively.

Many exposures are taken because the results are somewhat unpredictable. Hopefully one of those exposures will produce a desirable image or you end up doing it again. I’ve gotten better over time doing these images, because eventually you learn to modulate and move the flashlight to produce what you want.

I took twelve exposures and chose the one above. Evidently the plant is entirely poisonous,and it looks like it.

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