Not Doing It The Hard Way

DSCF8688If you want to attract attention, I suggest you take up an innocent hobby. Leave crime and sin and politics alone – they are never going to get you the amount of intrusive bother that the hobby does. If you are ever cast away on a deserted tropical island somewhere pull out a camera or a deck of cards. Your second time exposure will attract a motorbike and your second round of solitaire will attract someone who tells you to put the red 3 on the black 4.

I was trying, innocently I tell you, to test out the Icelight 2 mobile light wand this week. It is a sort of a Star Wars light sabre that photographers use to paint light onto cars and architecture in pitch black places. It’s self-contained and very easy to use, which means it is very easy to use badly. I discovered this.

It is also sure to attract motorbikes, strollers, cars, and for all I could tell tortoises and Athlete’s Foot. As soon as I set my car out to be photographed in the darkness, set up a tripod and camera on the other side of the street, and tried to start taking 30-second exposures, the entire town showed up and drove by.

DSCF8696I was expecting the cops, but nothing like that eventuated. I had my story ready to go if they rocked up…complete with a series of product shots on the SD card to show that I really was a studio photographer and business cards to give me an excuse to be there. I should have taken the iPad with the latest shop blog on it as well.

DSCF8703The business of light painting is wonderful when someone who knows what they are doing does it. They deliberately hide themselves from the gaze of the lens but direct the light onto the car or building as they go. It is a unique look and valuable as such for that, but a hell of a lot of trouble. I proved to myself that I can get results as good as I need by the simple act of clapping a diffuser onto a flash and firing it off. Call me lazy if you will, but I have been working with flash for 50 years and it still works most of the time.


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