Noir

I have always been drawn to dark images, I like strong definition. I keep going back to night photography not just because of its stark beauty but partly because I have little free time and most of it is during the hours of darkness. People get scared of the dark, it gives a strong emotion much like the warmth of the suns rays or early morning mist in an image.

B62futLCQAA7meHI’m no stranger to long exposures, I’ve dabbled in various forms of light painting before but recently I have been really trying to do more scripted work. My Hasselblad lends itself beautifully to this. If you think shooting medium format slows you down, try shooting it at night! Sometimes you are struggling to see anything through the viewfinder.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHI think my wife has thought me mad to leave the nice warm house late at night. To be honest I’ve pushed myself to do it because I know I really enjoy the results.

Night shooting has a different set of rules, strange people come out at night (you’re one of them) I’ve been shooting in fairly remote places so it’s important you do consider the dangers. You have time to do this whilst shooting long exposures, once you’ve fired the shutter you could be waiting an hour to release it.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHPeople I have seen whilst night shooting fall into these categories, boy racers, midnight lovers (doggers), kids out smoking weed and tramps. These people can be intimidating however once I imagined what I looked like (hood up, head torch, staring into the distance, by myself) I look fairly intimidating. I wouldn’t approach me, none of them have. Just remember a sturdy tripod can be used for more than stabilising your camera.

photo(12)Since posting a couple of night images I’ve been asked what settings and how long I’ve been exposing the image. There is a lot of information online about this and all of it contradicts itself. I’ve been emailing Andy Martin about this (check his night and wetplate work) his responses have been brilliant. It is also the same way I shall reply, its important you figure it out yourself. Night time is not just black, you get clouds, you get different moons, you get street light, you get shadows. It’s impossible to apply a sunny16 rule to it. In some scenes 15 seconds will make virtually no difference but in others it can be massive. It also scripts if you want clean images or concentrate on astrology.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHGo out, experiment and be safe.

 

 

 

Light Painting Masters

Ive become quite taken by light painting recently and have been looking about for inspiration. Most of the great examples I can find are taken on digital cameras and there are limitations when using analogue. The greatest inspiration I could of got came from the very unlikely source of the Daily Mail! My wife showed me an article in there on Gjon Mili. (Lucy assures me she only reads it for the gossip)

Gjon Mili (November 28, 1904 – February 14, 1984) was an Albanian-American photographer best known for his work published in LIFE. This guy is all kinds of crazy good and it has put me on a trail to see some abosolute painting masters. This has inspired me no end and im going to be trying some shots out tonight.

He also did a lot of work taking inspiration from Picassos paintings.

Some other great masters are

Andreas Feininger

A friend of mine has a boyfriend with a helicopter so I’m hoping I get the chance to try it out.

David Lebe

Eric Staller

Jozef Sedlák

I had to post two pics from Jozef as I really like his shots. Apologies for the willies.

Kamil Varga

So who is your favourite? Do you know any others? Would you like to show me your own light painting attempts?

HRH

Lubitel Light Painting

I have recently become more involved on flickr and its introduced me to some local analogue enthusiasts.There is a good group called Analogue Brighton where you can share tips/hints/pictures and advice.

They have been meeting up every month or so for a while. I finally took the plunge and decided I would meet these internet people! Would I be abused, murdered, sold time share? I did not know but if it was all under the guise of analogue I was up for trying.

I have to say that I have now been for two meets, the first of which only one person (25ThC) turned up. It went swimmingly and we had a good geek out with beers followed by a light painting shoot in the graveyard.

Last week we re arranged another and this time it was serious 4 of us turned up. 25ThC, Captainbonobo and Rivermonkey. Again we had some beers and discussed the really geeky things that go along with analogue. Things like expired and hard to find film, different cameras were shown. It was like an analogue antiques roadshow, we were the only people in the pub, thank you to the barman who didn’t just laugh.

So we decided to head up to St Anns Wells gardens as it would be away from street light and had enough space for us to run about with lights.

The Kit

1. Tripod

2.   Lubitel 166

3. Shutter release cable, a must for light painting shots.

4. Loads of torches, lights and flashing things.

I decided upon my lubitel which uses 120 film. This may be a really bad choice for light painting as 120 film can only do 12 shots a roll and is expensive to develop. I like it as I really think about the frame of my shot when I stare down the barrel. How cool does that look?

The results

This one is a long exposure of 25ThC. I got him to use a yellow coloursplash flash to highlight his face and legs in different positions. I love the glare and half-moon it created.

This is me and ive used a different filter on each one of the flashes. I wanted to see what would happen when the flats light were behind me.

The guys I went with were a joy to shoot with. Captain Bonobo actually lives on the edge of the park and in his dedication even rang his girlfriend to tell her to turn off the lights as it was ruining his shot. Hero.

Captain Bonobo walking on a light leak. Love this one. 25ThC drew round him with a flashy keyring and when I scanned the neg a light leak showed up in the perfect position.

More of the shots can be viewed here. Most of these shots were being exposed for about 4-5 minutes. At one point we were interrupted by some drunk tramps who were very interested and shouted various comments at us whilst they played on the swings.

This is one of the shots from the previous shoot