Friday, August 5, 2011

Photo Phriday: Bulb Photography

This is Ms. Pixies and my second Photo Phriday assignment and it was another hard one. I picked bulb photography because my niece and I had played around with it a bit while we were on vacation together last week. Bulb photography is basically forcing the camera’s eye to stay open, in low light conditions, for a long period of time so that things seem to glow or blur. Famous bulb photography is the streaking of tail lights in a car but really any light or motion blurred is considered bulb photography.

I had a ton of fun with this assignment, one that I always wanted to do, because bulb photography is a bit of painting with light and you never quite know what you are going to get.

Normally I don’t narrate how I took the photos but this week these shots were much more complicated and I thought a little understanding about how the pretty pictures were taken would be interesting. Hope you enjoy!

This first shot, seen below, was done by Ms. Pixie lighting two lighters and certain intervals. Light the lighters in each hand, pause, let the lighter go out, move your arms and light the lighter again. Believe me it isn’t easy and her poor fingers hurt but we did get the shot. Because it was done indoors the lighters provided enough ambient light to let her arms mysteriously ghost. Like some modern weird version of the eight armed Hindu goddess Shakti I love how the final version of this photo came out.


When it is pitch black outside it is hard to have the camera open for long periods of time in order to properly light a model. Here my niece is posing and I am to the side waving around a flash light. This photo held up really well considering that most of the others her face was either blurred or the light wasn’t in a pleasing shape.


This next photo is my niece holding a flash light covered by a paper towel. You see the light was too intense causing the light to be blown out, the paper towel idea was pure genius and all Ms. Pixies! It subdued the light enough to not be overpowering... and then because the light gave off a weird pinkish glow that reminded me of magic I added a little bit of extras!


This next photo I took at sunset just as the light was fading. I found a log on the beach and took a ton of photos of the waves rushing up around it. Although the log could not come out perfectly crisp with the waves pounding against it, it did stay remarkably still in this shot while the water looks like beautiful flowing mist. In the future I am going to have to play with this idea because I really liked how these first initial photos came out.


Of course some of the photos had to be the traditional car light streaking photos. I stopped at a few different corners until I found one where I liked the position of the lights.


And then I wanted to get some faster moving cars. I wanted to get the expressway but finding a vantage point in LA where I am not going to get run over and where I can see the road (all of the overpasses here are fenced off) was difficult. After driving the expressways for about an hour I finally found the perfect place, a stairway to a freeway bus on the meridian of the expressway allowed me to get a nice clear view. The added bonus was the city in the background giving a nice pink glow of light. This came out to be one of my favorite photos of the week.


One night I headed off to the beach where I ran around like a complete crazy psychopath for about 15 minutes trying to get the sparkler in my hand light path to look cool. This is the only one that came out correctly exposed, thank goodness I love it because just as I got this shot Mrs. Dancer called and I was late for dinner. I hurriedly packed all my belongings and ran to the car. Thank goodness she didn’t mind too much... it was all for the sake of art after all!


With bulb photography you can not only set shorter exposures, under a minute, you can also use much longer exposures. This next shot was taken with a 20 minute length exposure. You can see the stars streak like beautiful falling stars. In fact the stars are not moving at all, the earth is rotating. The length of those star streaks is how much the earth rotated in those 20 minutes. AWESOME!


This last shot I had the idea of going to an amusement park and doing a Ferris wheel photo. Unfortunately the amusement park idea didn’t work out so like any artist I improvised. Using a string of blue and white Christmas lights in my back yard I had a ton of fun, and bloopers, trying to get the circular streak of lights I wanted. The resulting photo came out beautifully.



Jess said...

Completely worth the wait ;)

lilmansworld said...

what a neat post!

paul peggy zeus said...

You are so full of creativity. Love the photo of Ms Pixie with the soft light, the freeway shot is amazing, and that last photo takes my breath away. Nice job, girls!

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