Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Set the Night on Fire

I received an invitation from my photography teacher to meet with a local photography group that was going to be light painting with steel wool.  I was intrigued and clicked on the link to look at some pictures, which were beautiful.  I decided to go with them, thinking worst case scenario I'd get to see sunset on the beach.  What I got out of it was way more than I hoped for. 

Upon arrival, I knew nobody.  I introduced myself and began to get my camera ready, as did the rest of the group.  They had much more equipment then I did and generally knew what the heck they were doing.  I felt a bit intimidated, through no fault of theirs.  I'm just not used to having so little knowledge when I go to do something.  I mean, I read what the settings needed to be to shoot the light painting, but these were serious photographers out to capture some lovely images, I'm sure.  The group was nothing but encouraging, making kind suggestions on exposure and telling me that the pictures I had taken were just fine.

One thing that made me feel better was it was assumed I was a local until I opened my mouth.  I had one person ask me where was a close, more isolated place to take some shots of the Milky Way - and I was able to suggest a beach where house were not as close.  Second, I had a pair of surfers chat me up.  It's nice to feel like I don't stand out as a foreigner.

First, the sunset was lovely.  Not as brilliant as the other night, but any time you're on the beach for sunset is a good time, as far as I'm concerned.  Scratch that, anytime at the beach is perfect!

A little info on light painting.  Basically, you take a metal chain and attach a kitchen whisk to the end of it.  In the whisk you stuff in some steel wool - the good kind.  I didn't know there was a difference, but the better grade lasted much longer.  Then you set the steel wool on fire and begin to spin the chain around.

To photograph, you need to set your camera on a long exposure.  I don't have a tripod yet and was going to use my bag as one.  However, one of the blokes was going to be doing a lot of the spinning, so he let me use his.  After taking these pictures, I'm out to buy a tripod today.  Here's why-

Green Light Stick

While there was still some light out, it was decided a trial run was in order.  This was taken with an 8 second shutter speed.  Fairly impressive, but let's look at the ones on fire.

That's Venus in the top right corner.  Jupiter is out as well right now.  Once I get my tripod, I'm going to have to find time to shoot pictures of the stars.  Seeing the Milky Way is incredible.  You know in your head that there are that many stars, but seeing it is a whole different thing.

Full on dark

 I love the reflection off of the rocks - it looks like lava to me.

It looks like Cinderella's Pumpkin Carriage

Interesting pattern in the middle

 I won't bore you with any more.  It was interesting how the patterns changed in the middle, dependent upon how the person was spinning.  I don't know who think of these things to do, but they get my thanks.  It was really fun to do and the pictures are pretty much fail proof, if you know the settings.  Easy as!

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