Monthly Archives: January 2015

Impressionist Photography: Fall Forest Pans

Fall is my favourite season for taking pictures in the forest. I love the feeling you get walking around. But with the amount of detail modern cameras are able to reproduce, it is sometimes difficult to convey that feeling in pictures.

Panning picture of fall forest scene in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, early fall

It was rather early in the fall, and thus there were only hints of the autumn foliage colours. This is one of my favourite panning shots.

Panning the camera during a long exposure is a very effective way of getting rid of the fine details and leaving the viewer with just an impression of the scene the photographer is looking at.

Panning picture of fall forest scene in Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, late fall

A few weeks later after the first photograph was taken, the fall colours were in full force.

And from day to day and week to week, the colours of the forest change and one gets different pictures every time one goes out, even if choosing the exact same vantage point. Especially since it is rather difficult to replicate the camera movements from one time to the next.

Panning picture of a few trees with fall colours on Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

This is an area I had walked by and not paid attention to in the spring and summer. But the wonderful fall colours grabbed by attention and I worked this location for a while, getting a few pictures I like very much.

All of the pictures in this post were taken on Blackford Hill, in Edinburgh. I wanted to get pictures from that same location for different seasons. I think for 2015/16, I’ll be looking at other wooded areas for my personal forest impressionist photography projects.

Panning photograph of three trees with fall colours, taken on Blackford Hill, Edinburgh

This is another photograph from the same location as above. From a different point of view. And the light did change from one shot to the next, as this picture has slightly waker tones than the previous one.


Light Painting Composer and Audio Producer Frankie Lowe

This instalment of my personal light painting project had me working with composer, audio producer and musician Frankie Lowe. I was fortunate to meet Frankie through one of my previous light painting subjects, composer and cellist Atzi.

I love working with musicians and artists on these light painting projects, because they relate to the kinds of moody pictures one gets with this technique. They also like the novelty factor. After all, light painting does produce photographs one is not used to seeing, and as an artist it is always good to differentiate yourself. Another great benefit of working with artists and musicians is that they are full of ideas, and no two of them are remotely alike. This guarantees a new and interesting experience every single time.

Composer and audio producer Frankie Lowe at the piano light painting

I decided to gel my LED light torch and picked a cool blue to add colour contrast with the warm tungsten light by the piano. Since bluish people look quite unnatural, I removed the gel when light painting Frankie’s face.

The session with Frankie was no exception. I asked Frankie where he’d like to be photographed, i.e what kind of location would represent him and what he does best. I want my collaborators to like the images I produce and use them to promote themselves. It’s a win win situation. They get something out of the project so it wasn’t a waste of their time, and my pictures get exposure.

Frankie chose to be photographed in his recording studio. This posed a number of challenges, given the tight space, amount of recording equipment and number of musical instruments. While light painting a scene, I need to move around and be able to light the various parts of the scene from interesting vantage points. And the number of objects in the scene created some challenges in composing the photographs. Photography is all about problem solving.

Light painting of composer and audio producer Frankie Lowe in his recording studio

I’ve grown to like environmental portraits of this kind. There are lots of things to keep the viewer looking around the frame. And the light painting adds depth and dimension to the scene.

I’m quite pleased with the final results and especially the experience gained in carrying out this project. I was also delighted by the reactions on Facebook when Frankie updated his banner with the studio photograph above. All in all, time well spent.

Light painting of composer and audio producer Frankie Lowe  in his studio playing the guitar.

The last set up of the session. I experimented some more with colour gels.

Breaking The Rules: Colour Abstracts

One of my scientific heroes is Einstein. The main mathematical formulas of special relativity, such as the Lorentz and Poincare transformations, had been worked out by others, but his contribution was perhaps the most important. Einstein clarified what the equations actually meant.

In particular, the mathematics of special relativity implied that the cherished notions of absolute space and time had to be abandoned. Even luminaries like Hendrik Lorentz could no let go of these concepts. But Einstein had no problem discarding the old ideas. He loved to question authority. Einstein once quipped: “As punishment for my contempt for authority, Fate has made me an authority myself.”

Colour abstract obtained by moving the camera over a bed of flowers during a long exposure

Moving the camera sideways over a bed of flowers during a long exposure produced this abstract photograph of colour.

I believe the same applies to art, and photography in particular. Why not try and break some rules? One of the rules is that one must hold the camera steady in order to get tack sharp photographs. I was introduced to the idea of camera movement by Bryan Peterson, a photographer who’s shot advertising campaigns for companies like UPS and American Express.

Ironically, the idea didn’t really resonate with me at first, but it was Bryan’s authority figure status that convinced me to give it a try! And I’ve embraced the idea ever since. If you are like me and like abstract paintings but are pretty useless with paint brushes, this may be something you ought to try too.

Colour abstract obtained by rotating the camera while zooming over a bed of flowers

Rotating the camera while zooming over the same bed of flowers produced this pattern of colours. An exposure time of 1/4s or so is needed to produce this effect (it varies depending on the subject and the focal lengths of your zoom, so a little experimentation is required)