Sunday, December 11, 2011

2 comments:

  1. I love the image of time in this.

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  2. Thanks Dom, something I have always appreciated in certain images with long exposure times. There is a story to this image.

    As Roger long ago ceased participating in this blog or any aspect of our 'mentorship' I have just decided to stop waiting and to resume posting so your comment is well timed.

    The title I gave this photograph is ( Ithink) going to be the title of the Andy installation, which is going well despite personal struggles at present. So to return to scribbled notes I made after making this image -

    I had been meaning to begin playing with night sky exposures for months at the time but hadn't had much opportunity until one of the brief trips away north of Esperance with the IASKA project last November. We set up camp at Dundas Rocks late afternoon on a warm, clear windy day several days before the new moon. I knew the moon would be rising around 2am next morning with true darkness not descending before 8.30 pm at night so I only had a 4 or 5 hour window. Dundas Rocks is also close to the highway so I was worried both by possible light pollution fogging the negative and the wind causing camera shake so I was not very confident of any success.

    I set up a Rollei before sunset on the hillside NE of our camp above the lakes looking south/southeast to avoid the highway taking little time to seek out a composition I liked, more concerned about keeping out of the wind and at a site I could later reach in darkness to find the camera without injuring myself to firstly open the shutter and then close it hours later before the moon burnt out the exposure. I carefully noted landmarks and the route up to the site while it was still light then returned to camp for dinner, coffee, wine and campfire chat.

    Two hours later when I was sure it was totally dark I walked back up by torchlight noting the route again. I had earlier opened the lens right up and set the shutter on time taking care to ensure the cable release was adjusted to maintain exposure and just depressed the plunger carefully before returning to camp, with some difficulty now without the torch on getting briefly 'lost' a few times in deadends in the bush. One more cup of wine back at camp then we all reluctantly retired after a long day.

    About 4 hours later I was woken by the moon which had just risen above the ridge where the photograph was continuing, having slept through the alarm I'd set to beat the moon. I thought I was too late heading back up there, half asleep and stumbling around again getting lost briefly a few times and unable to locate the camera for some minutes. I finally found it, closed the shutter and packed gear up then headed down the hill again back to camp, this time assisted by the torch. The exposure was about 4 hours long at f/4.5 on a standard lens with 100 ASA film producing a very thin contrasty negative with standard development, a negative I was not unhappy with at first attempt at such work although a much wider view spanning more sky and star trail would have been stronger.

    So next attempt, when I can get a chance, will use the larger format Linhof with the widest lens I have. I do like this image though and it has powerful associations for me to do with time, transience, life and death.

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