I thought maybe a few of the followers might be interested in how the current “Last Light” project came about.
(That is, apart from the fact that I love low-light photography and have done for many years) as shown in the few examples below. Most of these images have been uploaded to my B & W blog in the past).
My current apartment faces west and as the sun rises in the sky and comes over the apartment building, the apartments on this side of the building get the full force of the hot summer sun.
The architects who designed this particular apartment block must have taken this into consideration in their design. As the sun hits the floor-to-ceiling windows in these small studio style apartments (i.e. galley kitchen combined with lounge/sitting room area), you need to pull down the ‘block-out’ blinds to the floor to keep out the extremely bright, hot sun and turn the air-conditioning on).
So as not to force you to turn artificial night lights on, the Architect has ‘recessed the ceiling near the windows and made a full room-width strip of shallow, or slim, windows above the block-out blinds. The narrow space allows light into the room.
As the late afternoon sun dips in the sky, these small windows allow a beam of light to shine in and gradually move across the room to the inner wall where the galley kitchen is located.
It lights up whatever it hits on its path. It’s one of those situations where you need ‘right time, right place’ with your camera………. to catch each highlighted object and determine if it might make an interesting subject for a photo.
Sometimes the room is almost pitch black (except for my computer screen lit up which I’m usually working at).
Hence, the project name “LAST LIGHT”. It is whatever subject that beam of light hits on its journey until…….just as the sun dips behind the horizon outdoors, the beam of light instantly turns off and the room is pretty much…….. pitch black..
So, while I’ve only really started observing the changes in the subjects and the way the light picks up each subject, the images below, while not exciting subjects or compositions in themselves, do give you an idea of what might be lit for a few seconds.
You’ve got to be quick and in most cases, you only have time for one shot before the beam of light moves.
- I’ve already shared the image below (and it was the vines and stalk of the tomato that caught my eye in the fruit bowl).
2. A branch of Rosemary sitting in a vase on my bookshelf. The beam of light has just caught one single Rosemary flower (and left the rest in darkness). By the way, these images are mostly straight out of the camera. The subjects were not light via artificial light sources.
3. A chinese tea-pot and 2 upturned tea cups sitting in a wooden tray on the table beside my sofa/couch. The whole of the rest of the room is in darkness (except my computer screen where I’m working).
4. A bowl of dried ‘clove’ pomanders sitting in a ceramic bowl have only their tops and the side of the bowl lit. Most of the room is still in darkness.
5. This image (below) has been shared in a previous post. The beam of light has struck the kettle and a set of steamer pots sitting on the gas stove. Most of the room is still in darkness of course.
After the beam of light climbs the back wall of the room and the sun dips behind the horizon outdoors, the beam of light suddenly disappears and you need to turn on the night lights OR open the block-out blinds (to capture the last of the sunset?).
I suppose the movement of this beam of light takes only about half an hour (?) indoors – maybe less – I’ve never actually timed it – so you have to be alert and facing the inner windowless wall to catch each item as it is lit up.
Obviously you could move subjects around within the room to make different compositions to experiment with. The important thing is to have your camera set on some basic settings so you don’t have to waste time changing them, or looking at camera body dials.
If I capture any interesting compositions, I’ll share. But in general, I’m still practicing.
Seriously, I’m STILL EXPERIMENTING 😀
The image of some dried Shiitake Mushroom soaking in water (below), DIDN’T meet the brief. There was too much light on the kitchen bench at this particular moment.
The project is merely something to do while Melbourne is still experiencing a heat wave and I’m stuck indoors. This is the hottest summer on record in Melbourne, (and the rest of Australia) and I might suggest I’m not the only person staying indoors under an air-conditioning unit.
You would never know today was the second day of Autumn.
I find Still Life as a photo subject, hard work. Especially as I don’t have the editing skills or eyesight to do much (to ‘tweak’ the result).
Maybe its a case of not enough practice as, up until early 2018, except for some food photography, I’ve always done photography outdoors and taken the light as it is on the day.
The image in this post is hand-held and I’m not sure I shouldn’t have bobbed down a bit lower and reduced the angle. This was the sixth shot in a series of 10. I was so busy getting the vegetable stalk in focus, I didn’t notice the shadow on the left hand side of the frame, but maybe that adds, rather than detracts, from the overall result?
What do others think? Is it too tightly cropped, for example? Should I try the same subject again and take more notice of the background and shadows? The image was made late afternoon in natural light.
Constructive criticism is always welcome.
As I’ve been mainly housebound in the last 11 months or so, I’ve been trying to think of a new B & W project to do indoors. My small studio apartment offers few options or subjects, so I return again to an old project – “Last light” – a personal project which I hadn’t thought to share online, but maybe this year is the one (to do so).
Once upon a time, Melbourne’s General Post Office was the centre of the city’s postal service where thousands of letters were received and sorted. Located on the intersection between Bourke and Elizabeth Street, the GPO building was conveniently positioned in the city’s central business district and its location continues to be used as a point of reference to measure distance from the centre of Melbourne. From the mid-19th Century right up until 1992, Melbournians visited the GPO to post letters, buy stationary, check their PO boxes and pay bills, but these days the building is home to retailers and restaurants.
(note: I didn’t have the right lens to capture the rest of the building when walking through the city earlier this week, but I liked the image all the same).
In general, I rarely go into the Melbourne City’s CBD (central business district) any more as it’s so crowded in the main Bourke Street pedestrian only shopping mall and I find my senses overwhelmed.
My MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) is super-sensitive to perfumes, chemicals, loud sounds and bright lights.
Yesterday’s visit to my favourite hairdresser, who can tame my wayward hair into some resemblance of style, and my regular Dental appointment (next Wednesday) are about the only reasons for a visit.
Yesterday was hot and airless in the crowd, but one can never predict the weather in Melbourne (when you make appointments the previous week).
As I was hurrying to catch a tram to the south side of the city, I stopped for a moment to watch the above scene. I’m not sure whether I captured this scene as well as I could have (had I more time), but street photography is often a quick un-composed shot anyway.
I couldn’t help but be highly amused at the sight of 2 women calmly sitting on the step eating their lunch(?) while the cameraman was recording a clip of (perhaps) a journalist or TV weatherman behind them?
Next minute, a man in a velour sort of dressing gown (?), complete with ankle socks and thongs, interrupted them, walked up to the person being filmed and put his arm around him (I missed that shot), so they stopped filming. I couldn’t work out whether he was part of the crew. or a passerby in a rather strange outfit on a cold winter’s day wanting to be photographed with a celebrity of some sort? I was too far away to really see much.
I rarely go in to the city centre to do street photography these days. It’s usually a quick stop, or walk down a lane, on the way to somewhere else.
From the archives…..
This image of a busker in the main shopping mall area in Burke Street remains one of my favourite images to this day.
I haven’t seen him since 2010 which is the year I first took up Photography as a hobby and I often wonder……..where is he now?
This is one image which looked terrible in colour, but B & W – just perfect.