Tuesday, February 26, 2013

From the dark alleys to the neon signs

Urban Textures

Back Door
A month ago I hosted a downtown alley shoot for the photography group I belong to. These shoots always prove to be very popular and very demanding as there is a lot to see, shoot and take in in just two hours.

One of the things I try to do at each of shoots I host is provide some context of what there is to shoot. In this case, a night shoot, in high contrast lighting with bright lights and deep dark shadows, the photographers focus has to shift from what they might shoot during broad daylight.

Focus on the shadows and the lights. Focus on the patterns. Focus on the abstract. Focus on the seedier side of the world.

Zooming In
 In addition to guiding the group of nineteen photographers through the dark, shadowy alleys of Salem, I also gave a brief tutorial on zooming in during an exposure.

In the example on the right, my zoom was limited, 17mm - 50mm, so the effect was limited.

With a lens that had more zoom, like 24mm - 70mm or 24mm - 200mm, the effect is much more dramatic.

Start with the lens at one end of zoom or the other. Start your six second exposure, wait one second, slowly zoom to the other end of the zoom, leaving about one second of exposure remaining. Give it a try some time.

It is always a shame when a photographer leaves a tripod home.

What is more of shame is when the photographer remembers the tripod, but leaves the camera mount for the tripod head at home.

So what does a photographer do when that happens?

Make some abstract art, like the shot on the left.

When was the last time you headed out in the dark. The shadows can be fun.

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