Focus - Photo Challenge: Shoot the Same Thing
This week the theme was for the two of us to literally take pictures of the same thing. We drew this option a few weeks ago and came up with some ideas for what the object would be. We wanted it to be something specific rather than just choosing a location. That way we would each have to really focus on shooting the thing in a unique way and deal with the same circumstances. We had two ideas: a Buddhist temple in East Fort Worth or the Earth Fountain on Camp Bowie. We went by both on the week we picked this theme. The temple was interesting looking, but we decided to do the fountain. However, it wasn't running. We postponed this shoot until it was running again. So, this was the week.
I went to scope it out on Tuesday to get some ideas. Wow, nothing! This is a strange piece of art in a really odd place (at least as far as photographing it goes). Take a look on this map. See the beautiful view on every side of it? Neither did I. Something ugly (no offense to the store owners) is in the background from everywhere you stand. The cutouts for the water are not symmetrical, so there is no way to get a shot of it with any balance to it. You can't really look through any of the cutouts to see anything cool (not even a view of downtown, which can be seen from there). Plus, the night I went to take pictures one half of the directional lighting for the sculpture was burned out, so half of the thing was in the dark. This was going to be tough. Here are some pictures of it on the artist's website to give you an idea of what I was working with. As you can see, it's not the most exciting subject, but that's part of the challenge. Sometimes you have to make the best of what you have.
I thought the stone was nice, so I wanted to get it up-close. I also liked all the layers, textures and shapes from this perspective.
I got this one in the daytime obviously. Even though it wasn't hot at the time, the water just looks so cool and refreshing.
OK, so here is my official picture for this water feature. I knew the art was a bit boring on its own and didn't think the lighting on it would be very good, so I brought my own. (Here is what it actually looked like that night.) I have an LED flashlight with a switch for white, red or blue light. I thought adding some blue to it would look good. I wanted to do a long exposure on this one to get the streaks of light from the cars passing by. If you don't know what a long exposure is, it is when you leave the shutter open for a long period of time. Typically you would take a picture in good lighting from anywhere between 1/100 and 1/4000 of a second (and even faster on some cameras). With a long exposure you can have the shutter stay open for up to 30 seconds (or longer, but the process isn't as easy). So the shot below took 13 seconds. That was enough time to properly expose the scene for the aperture (size of the opening to allow light) I selected.
While the shutter was open I used my flashlight to "paint" the top of the sphere with blue light, and I also "painted" the inside of the sphere with red. I also waited until there were a good amount of cars coming from both directions to get the good light trails from the head and tail lights. I was also important to make sure the cars were out of the frame before opening and closing the shutter. If the car is in the middle of the frame during either of those times there will be an obvious start or end to the light rather than a streak that goes though the whole frame. I also played a bit with the white balance of the shot. That is the way that the camera interprets the color white based on the temperature of the light (on the Kelvin scale). Have I lost you yet? Anyway, I set this image to have a more orange tint to the yellowy lights that were shining on the fountain. Notice how the street light looks green? It's not, but the type of bulb in there is a different color temperature, so the camera sees it differently than the other lights in the image. Science!
I ended up getting an image that I was happy with, and it was certainly a good exercise. How do you take a good image of something that may not be interesting to you? How can you make the best of what you are presented with? How can you introduce something else into the scene to add some interest? I don't know if I made the best representation possible of this artwork, but I think I did my best. And, if I do say so myself, I think my shot is better than any other pictures of this thing that I have seen (including the ones on the artist's site). Now, I'll have to wait and see if my photogra-friend did better.
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Keywords: Challenge, Earth Fountain, Fort Worth, Fort Worth Photography, Fort Worth Public Art, Philippe Klinefelter, Photo Challenge, Public art, Texas, Water feature, Water fountain
You did make it more interesting and found a way to give it a n interesting background.
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