Monthly Archives: December 2014

Impressionist Photography: Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

I’ve taken quite a few photographs using impressionist techniques in the forest of Blackford Hill. Since I now have quite a good grasp of the kind of forest subjects that make for interesting pans or multiple exposures, it was time to see what other locations have to offer in that department.

Pan during a long exposure of trees in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

I had to wait for the clouds to cover the sun, in order for the lighting on this scene to get more even. I then panned the camera up and down during long exposures

Princes Street Gardens is one of the many public parks in Edinburgh. It is centrally located, in-between the hill Edinburgh castle is built on and the main shopping area of central Edinburgh, Princes Street.

Multiple exposures of three trees in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh

“Threes”. In graphic design, the “rule of odds” states that surrounding an object with an even number of surrounding objects leads to a composition that is more pleasing to the eye. In this picture, I combines the rule of odds with the technique of multiple exposures.

The park can be quite busy, so it was important to select a relatively quiet time to shoot impressionist photographs there. It is quite rich in subject matter, and I was able to get nice pans and multiple exposure shots.

Abstract of plants, panning the camera up and down during a long exposure

When there are too many people around, it is time to move in closer and look for abstract compositions of plants and flowers by panning the camera up and down.

On busier days, moving in closer for some abstracts can produce interesting results.

Light Painting a Dancer: Jennifer

On Halloween, I had the chance to do some more light paintings. It was also my first time working with a professional dancer, Jennifer. We decided to try some urban settings as backgrounds, and more specifically wanted to explore the area around the Royal Mile. After a bit of scouting, we came upon a close just off the Royal Mile that seemed to offer a number of picture opportunities. All the pictures in this blog post were taken within about a 30m radius.

Light paintings typically stand out because the lighting is quite surreal and grabs our attention since we are not accustomed to seeing subjects in this kind of light. But there is another way to grab people’s attention, and that is by placing your subject in a totally unexpected environment. Like a dancer on a bunch of kegs at the back of a pub, as in the pic below. The light painting technique further adds to the surreal nature of the concept.

classical dancer on kegs of beer at the back of a pub on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland

This picture opportunity did not immediately present itself, as the location was somewhat hidden from view. But I’m very glad I decided to just ‘look around the corner’

The photo shoot took place on Halloween night, and we were fortunate to find some lit
carved pumpkin. The stairs also offered plenty of elements of design, such as lines, shapes and textures. I learned from Joe Baraban’s “Stretching Your Frame Of Mind” classes to look for these elements of design and incorporate them into my imagery.

Classical dancer on stairs with carved pumpkin, on Halloween night in Edinburgh, Scotland

It was Halloween night after all, and we jumped at the chance of a Halloween themed light painting

On the other side of the close, there was another location with similar elements of design, and it got my attention as well. I also liked the contrast between the urban setting and the classical dancer.

classica dancer in an urban setting off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland

I really liked the pipes, the texture of the walls and the autumn leaves on the ground. It is also not the kind of location where you’d expect to come across a classical dancer, a good opportunity in my mind for an interesting image.

And finally, one cannot be with a classical dancer and not get a photograph of her doing the splits. Since this was my first photo shoot with a dancer, I didn’t really have an idea of how to place my subject relative to the background, or what kind of background works best. And while I’m happy with the lighting on Jennifer, I think the background needs a bit more work. This photo shoot got me to think about other ideas. So, maybe next time…. I’ll keep you posted.

classical dancer doing the splits on a short wall off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland

I just had to get a classical dance pose out of Jennifer.