Rodney Campbell's Blog

Lighting the Whale…

by on Nov.02, 2014, under Life, Photography

I’d received a late minute invite from some friends who wanted to shoot sunrise at Sculpture By The Sea this year. I suggested we go an hour earlier (around 4AM – yikes!) so we’d be there two hours before sunrise and do some light painting with the sculptures before twilight kicked in or the mass of early morning photographers and their tripods arrived.

After the others (Jason, Ana and Al) arrived it was time to see what was nearby that we could light paint.

One of our favourites this year is Michael Greve’s “Breaching” showing a wooden whale (sculpted from Red and Spotted Gums) leaping out of the ground. It’s not in an ideal location for photographing but in the dark the distractions around it are easier to hide.

Note: These photographs (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.

Breaching Lightly

Breaching Lightly

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 32 mm, 356 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

This is the final image we came up with – which ended up being shot at 5AM with some early twilight light starting to show in the sky during the very long 6 minute exposures at f/5.6 (it’s still an hour till sunrise).

Below are some of the test shots we took leading up to this final culmination of light painting events to give you an idea of some of the thought process that goes into building up elements in a light painted image.

Firstly twenty minutes earlier we start playing with Jason Bakers very cool new light wand (it’s a bit over a metre long and has two rows of (USB – 5V powered) controllable RGB led strips down the sides) – immediately we see the possibilities with silhouetting the whale against the light.

Whale Swirl

Whale Swirl

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 35 mm, 21 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

I actually really liked this array of colours but we weren’t able to repeat this colour sequence (it’s a new toy and it has like literally a bazillion colour, mode and speed combinations :)).

Now I’ve added some EL wire at the bottom to give the impression of the whale leaping out of some fiery water.

Rainbow Light

Rainbow Light

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 32 mm, 258 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

Next up was one of Jason’s other recent creations – a hoop of light with a row of leds around it, plus a little side lighting of the whale itself with a zoomable torch.

Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 32 mm, 62 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100

Put all the pieces together into a single long take and we arrive at the image at the top…

#sxsbondi14 #sxsbeinspired #sxsmoments #scuplturebythesea

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