Night Demon – An Exercise

Welcome to my living room. We’re back home and while I still have more from our trip coming, I decided to take a short sidetrack. This image is quite different from the serene landscapes I generally do. It was really an experiment of light and shadow. It’s late Saturday night. We went to a  local square dance earlier and someone gave Cyrus a couple of those stringy glow sticks. A few hours later, home and family asleep, the sticks are still glowing. I pick them up and start playing, soon considering how I could paint with their light.

The end result after quite a bit of work is this self portrait taken in a darkened room. I’ll confess that I was a tad creeped out as I made this image, childrens toys around the dark room, something happening in the space behind and empty floor occupied by a faceless fire winged man. It may not be creepy in the light of day, but I had fun making it.

For Photographers. How it was made…

5D MK2, 24mm TS-e, ISO800, f3.5, 30sec.

There ‘s more to this  one than meets the eye. Now I doubt it will win any awards. Perhaps I won’t even print it. But it was a good study. I started with some basic light painting, then started looking at the scene thinking of a more story like image. The title of the photo came almost before the concept and actually helped plan the scene.

I moved object around at an attempt to keep the room natural, but uncluttered. Even the sippy cup on the table was positioned specifically. I also used a blanket in the far right to cover LED’s on my AV gear, though we still see a slight red glow against the wall. That’s OK as I like the mood it adds.

Here’s what I have in this final image. The main orange is obviously from the two glow sticks. I started them hanging at my sides and slowly spun them up. The light from inside the room behind me is intended to add more mystery and was done by placing my laptop in a table in there (remember this is a 30sec exposure).

Back out in my living room, there’s some unnoticed light that was important. I wanted the room dark but not black. The sticks were not enough. To compensate I turned on the flashlight on my iPhone, then covered with with paper towel to reduce the glow. The result was a very slight glow that over the span of the exposure gave the right light to the room.

In post I used a few of my presets. Then did some noise reduction followed by a bit of cleanup in PS. This is a noisy image. More than I would generally be willing to allow. But I did not want to long an exposure and the noise rather fits with this scene as it adds some grit. Had I ran down to ISO 200 I could have kept things clean, but that would have meant a much longer exposure.

This was interesting on various levels, but I think the most significant thing I noted was how much a tiny flow of light can effect a scene in a large way… Gav

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