Rodney Campbell's Blog

Sculptures by the Sea – Lighting the Dome…

by on Nov.01, 2012, under Life, Photography

Headed out to Sculptures by the Sea again this year for some more sunset and light painting action. Thanks again to my trusty partners in crime who joined me for the evening – Gerry, Suren and Cameron.

I arrived quite early (around 5PM) to do a bit of pre planning investigation of what was available (with a view to light painting). There weren’t as many good candidates this year however a few jumped out as definites including the huge mirrored dome (Mirador) in the prime position right at the tip of the headland overlooking the sea. I took a few photographs before and on sunset all around the coastline from Bondi to Tamarama, I’ll post some later, but the real action started after sunset when we started light painting.

Note: These images (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

Crammed just inside the small doorway with multiple tripods and cameras peeking in as wide as we could go…

Orb spun with a single bright red LED, EL wire on the ground (300 seconds) – we were in previous takes also lighting the interior roof space (which is all mirrored) with LED torches but the ambient we were getting from the near full moon and city lights was enough by this stage (10PM)

Fire Dome

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 300 sec at f/11, ISO 100

Earlier on (8:40PM) we’d shot the whole scene from just up the hill above – EL Wire and LED torches. This was about take #5 (which is annoying when a single frame is 5 minutes long) – the hardest part was having people walking through your scene with torches or trying to photograph Gerry and I (with flashes or smartphones) as we’re doing the EL wire – getting a reasonably clean take was tricky – we lucked out pretty well with this our last attempt

Mirador by the Sea

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 35 mm, 300 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

By this stage we’d gathered a crowd of interested bystanders and as luck would have it the creators of the artwork (Rachel and Ivana) had seen us spinning the orb and came over to see what we were doing with their creation. We chatted for a while and they watched us work and checked out the results as they appeared on our LCD screens

Multicoloured Orb spun with my new Arduino driven mashup, EL wire on the floor and LED torches to light the interior (190 seconds)


NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 193 sec at f/11, ISO 100

We’d moved off to try light painting some of the other sculptures (will post later) but at the very end of the evening (11:15PM) Gerry wanted to do something from this position so we setup for one last shot – perhaps even one of the shots of the evening. Another long exposure (230 seconds) to expose the streaks of clouds in the sky, foreground rocks lit with a weak LED torch, dome lit with strong LED torch and a touch of blue EL wire at the base of the foreground rock

Golden Palace

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 22 mm, 226 sec at f/8, ISO 100

Thankfully we got our exposures nailed pretty spot on so the images above required very little post processing at all (the second shot required some cloning of extraneous lights especially on the horizon) and are pretty close to as shot. The other huge advantage of light painting – each shot takes some time for planning and 5 minutes plus to take so you don’t have a huge number of images to process at the end – even after a number of hours of shooting I had a grand total of 23 images 🙂

Finally here’s a shot of the dome from the inside in daylight (6:20PM)

NIKON D600 + 17.0-35.0 mm f/2.8 @ 17 mm, 1/160 sec at f/8, ISO 100

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