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Playing with my camera:

I discovered last night how to do something mad nifty with my digital camera–manual-shutter elapsed-time light manipulation. I’m sure there’s a proper term for it, but I’m not a proper photographer, so I am just describing it as best I can. I’d done it before with my old 35mm. You need real slow film…the lower the ASA number the better. You need a general low-light situation with very bright, concentrated illumination in just one or two places. You need a camera that allows for manual shutter release, so that you can hold the shutter open for a relatively long time.

This is how they get those cool photos in your Science textbooks that show the stars whirling across the night sky. This is also how they get those cool photos in the National Geographic of people with torches parading up a hill, but all you see are what look like a thousand comets zooming up to a peak. This is also how they get those cool photos of street scenes, where you see the cars’ headlights and taillights streaking along the road, with the cars and people being Duchamp-esque blurs of action.

So, without further wankery ado, here’s some fun:

Can you believe this is the same tableau as

this? The spotty-looking blurs are the neighbor’s myriad white “icicle lights” on their porch and the regular fairy lights on their shrubbery.

I set the shutter on a 15-second elapsed time, the ISO equivalent on 50, and kind of waved the camera around like a conductor’s baton, while pointing in the general direction of the warehouse.

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