12 June 2008 Lightpainting Ayame
Today Jeffrey and Anthony came over and we explored the large park near my house farther than I ever have before. It extends all the way back into the mountain, and I’ve always wondered what’s back there. More about what we found (such as a grave for soldiers of the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars) later, but first some shots I just took tonight. On the way into the park is a very photogenic pond which I’ve always meant to shoot. Today as we passed it I noticed irises blooming, and I thought I should come back tomorrow morning when there was good light.
Later, it occurred to me to come back tonight and try some lightpainting. This is a technique in which the camera’s shutter is open for a long time in a dark environment, and you use a flashlight to brighten only certain parts of the scene. I had a lot of fun sitting in the wet dirt embankment of this pond in the dark, trying to take photos without kicking the entire tripod over into the drink.
Getting decent photos was harder than I expected. The right balance is hard to find: Just a second too long with the flashlight and you have an over-exposure. Spread the beam too wide and too much of the image ends up lit, looking like daylight. Too little light and you get darkness. Here are a few of my favorites.
(Ayame, by the way, is how you say iris in Japanese. It’s one word that I think is much more mellifluous in Japanese. Ah-yah-may…Such a nice expansive sound, as opposed to the high-pitched and squeely “eye-ris”…)