~e; anonymous EM artwork
brian carroll <email@example.com>
Tue, 7 Dec 2004 23:27:10 -0600
i once photographed holiday lights with an
early digital camera and now look forward
to the winter season for this event. it is
a little different without snow in Minnesota
which throws a lot of the experience off the
regular course. so too with photographing a
house with lights, capturing it did not have
the same excitement as it is much easier with
improved cameras, though also less exciting
in a way. here are some earlier photographs:
IN any case, i had been experimenting with a
the 'close-up' feature of digital cameras, in
which an item between 5" and 20" inches from
the lens (as an example) is somehow adjusted
to by the camera after pressing a button on
the camera. so, i tried using it to photograph
what to me is an impressionist-like scene at
the Lyndale nuclear peace garden in minneapolis.
it was probably 50-80 feet away or so and thus
everything is out of focus though still legible.
there is something about this that made me wonder
about what is unique to digital photography in
that this imagery can be seen before choosing to
take the photograph. and it relates to holiday
lighting as will be shown in a minute, too...
Lyndale Peace Garden, nearsighted focus
to me it looks as if it is painted, then i thought
of it again with night lighting and painting with
light. Moholy-Nagy i thought did such experiments,
and i decided to try it with holiday lights. maybe
someone else has done this extensively though i've
yet to see it. if so, please share what you know...
the one light scene that triggered my interest this
year was a very heartfelt expression for a tree that
is located on the corner of a residential block. it
had a few strands of green and red 'rope light' which
is basically some bulbs in a colored plastic tubing.
it was very elegant and an intimate expression to
find, when other places wrap excess wattage all over,
this was a profoundly moving understatement and the
tree remains the most important thing, as if loved
(and, reminiscent of the story, the Giving Tree...)
here is a basic night photograph of the tree itself:
here are experiments with moving the camera during
the exposure, using the same treetrunk of lights...
this second photograph then opened up an interpretation
of the lights, at least for me, that started to capture
the feeling of seeing the tree that was beyond the image
of the tree itself and its light, sketching experience...
larger image files (100-200k each) of the lightshow...
here is another lightscene with this technique...
nearsighted focus of trees
moving exposure of trees
so while there are photographs which document
a scene there is still something missing, which
may be due to skill but also of interpretation...
this reminds me of the long exposure of freeways/
highways at night. this is a bus passing a tele-
vision station (bus is on the left, with tall
light streaking across the image). the thought
came to mind about the camouflage of electrical
towers and pylons, like Robert Venturi's look at
signage in Las Vegas which changed from day to
night; at night the electrical towers and their
landscape become more visible, almost, as they
have red lights blinking that rise in the dark
sky, which is another landscape hidden in the
chaos of the daytime, in full relief at night,
and yet how to photograph it? maybe the moving
exposure will be one way of exploring these.
that, and car lights and especially if airplanes
could be photographed when circling above a city,
using long exposures, such as a series of planes
coming in for landings one after another and a
several second exposure with night photography.
(or day photography with neutraldensity filter).
there is something about what people do with
electrical light and decorations that is also
related to anonymous electromagnetic artworks
and documenting this is of interest. if others
see any such scenery locally that you want to
share with the list, please send an URL or a
note to me if you need temporary upload space.
in any case, that tree is still my favorite and
i consider it a type of celebration using light.
brian thomas carroll: research-design-development
architecture, education, electromagnetism
the electronetwork-list: electromagnetism and culture...