Last week, I was given a photography assignment, from a SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology) instructor, which sounded rather ordinary until we were told to “be creative”. Ohhh, I like being creative and thinking outside the box. The assignment was to make one image which conveys motion.
I was not interested in photographing the typical car tail lights, cats pouncing on a toy, trains zooming by, or a football game. I thought back to the workshops and tours I have done with Sam and Darwin. I had a great time particpating in their Extreme Saskatchewan Tour in 2010. One day the rain just would not surrender and we were all “sent to our rooms” to do an assignment. “Be creative in your hotel room….photography speaking!” we were told. I chose to photograph the ‘ghost’ in my room. Thinking back to that day, I thought for my SAIT assignment, I would make an image of a ghost walking in my house. Since I don’t have a strobe flash (I was using a flashlight) my images were not showing a moving ghost, just a blurry mess. Now what?? After a few minutes of brainstorming I decided to play with glow sticks in a dark room. Off I went to our local loonie (dollar) store to purchase a bag full of glow sticks.
Before supper I set the livingroom up for the shoot. Furniture was pushed aside and everything was taken off the fireplace hearth and mantle. A black sheet was hung in front of the fireplace (don’t worry, the fire was not ablaze!). This sheet covered all the shiny bits and pieces of brass and glass which might reflect in my images.
The camera, a Canon 50D with a 50mm lens, was on a tripod and placed approximately 10 feet away from the fireplace with a clear ‘running track’ made for me back to the camera. I manually set focus and then set my camera to an 8 second shutter speed, ISO 400 and aperture of f1.8. All that was left was to wait for it to get pitch dark and for me to finish supper (the latter being most important for my ‘creative juices’).
With all curtains drawn, ceiling lights turned off and the hallway night light unplugged I was ready to compose! OOOOOO it’s dark. Tread carefully Catherine! Crack, crack, crack went the first glow stick as I bent it in several places. One click on the cable release and off I went! Quickly making my way, on the left side of the camera, to the fireplace, I waved the stick in front of the black cloth for about five seconds. Excited to see my results, I made my way back to the camera via the track on the right side of the camera. THUD! Zerrin, our Golden Retriever, decided to have a snooze where his blankie USUALLY is. What a kerfuffle! Both of us trying to get up and out of each others way! Me flailing in the dark to grab a tripod leg so that Zerrin wouldn’t knock it over during his frantic escape. Zerrin doing a hind leg split on the wooden floor and me laughing so hard I could hardly get up off the floor! Dog, photographer and camera all survived!
I spent over two hours playing in the dark. Pink sticks. Green sticks. Orange sticks. Short sticks. long sticks. Tri color circles. Numerous speeds and fancy movements with the glow sticks. Check out the images below and let me know what you think. Remember to put your mouse arrow on the images for the image title!
By the way, this would be a fun project to do when the snow is blowing, the wind is howling and it’s just too darn miserable to do outdoor photography.