A variation on the classic vertical fish-eye church shot at Tintern Abbey.

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A day walk up some mountains in southern Wales ended with the discovery of a disused waterworks facility.

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Drifter

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Myself and Chris x 2 were on the lookout for a suitable train station to try a setup loosely based on a drifter type of figure under a harsh light.

Exposure: 1/60 & 0.4 sec Aperture: f/5.6 ISO: 200/800 Focal Length: 54 mm (click for larger)

We tracked the train line out of the city, stopping to check the suitability of each station as it passed. We finally settled, partly out of laziness, for a dodgy looking northside station. As the evening progressed shifty characters started appearing. Some barefoot, biting their nails, shooting us nervous glances. Others crazy and disgruntled wandering across the active train lines muttering about our lack of rights to be there.

Mace and I were on one side of the platform and Chris on the other with the camera. As trains passed between us Mace and I were half expecting Chris to be revealed unconscious on the ground, our gear gone to be traded for whatever elicit substances can be acquired in the area.

The shot was a composite of an ambient light frame (with the moving train) and a flash lit frame of the drifter. Refreshing was the fact that there was little to no prep and we were done in under an hour. Previous setup shots, while also fun, have required quite a bit of preparation and setup. ChrisG masterfully composited the shot right after we returned to safer ground. I am quite pleased with the result and hope to do some more of these simple and, more importantly, quick setups.

Guided Tour

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It occurred to me that I really don’t take advantage of being a friend to one of this cities foremost drain aficionados. So it was with much eagerness Sven took me back to the underside.

Exposure: 5 sec Aperture: f/4 ISO: 400 Focal Length: 10 mm

It has been many years since our early adventures into the bowels of the city, looking for places of interest to experiment with photographic lighting techniques. I have dabbled here and there (look at that beast of a torch!) but it has been Sven who has really taken on the challenge of drain photography in recent years. Sven’s vast knowledge on the subject meant easy entry and a guided tour of the drain in question which, I am told, was recently dubbed the best Australia has to offer by a well known community of explorers.

It also provided an opportunity to try out my recently acquired fish-eye lens. I has been a while, so one shot is all I could manage while trying to remember exactly how best to light these tricky environments. As usual lighting was provided by LED torches and I was reasonably pleased with the result.

Will my dislike of walking long distances hunched over or the fear of stepping in that golden turd prevent future drain excursions? Not in the short-term I don’t think, partly because Sven is a very convincing and capable drain host.

This time the rig was lifted onto the roof of an abandoned building that features some nice old dishes. We placed the dolly diagonally to the subject to simulate a rotating view, turned out very subtle. HD full screen this one.

Bugs are ironed out now, time to make something decent. Time is our ultimate enemy, with many great subject (stars, dusk->dawn) requiring many many hours of both movement and shutter time. Camping next to the rig in operation would seem to be a good solution, that is unless a drunk someone (unnamed) blindly pisses out of his tent flap into it.

Hello Dolly

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Chris and I built a camera dolly! This was it’s first test.

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