I took a fun field trip to Kentucky to see a friend and do a photoshoot with her that we had talked about for a while. This would be my first model photoshoot with my Fuji XT 1 mirrorless. She knew where there was a very old cemetery on a private drive, off a winding country road. Headstones dating back to the late 1700’s! I had mentioned doing some long exposure photography there with her, and make the concept to imply that she is a ghost that haunts the cemetery.
I got there and saw some of the very old tombstones, and trees, and thought about what life was like when those people were around, and if anyone living today knows who each of them are, as well as any spirits floating around the cemetery. I used a 30 second exposure and had her do very abrupt and controlled motions, in certain areas of the frame for best composition. I used a flashlight I waved back and forth to light the area in spots. That’s called painting with light, while the shutter is open. This ghost could be saying, vandals will be dealt with, if you come here, leave it like you found it. Which is standard etiquette for me anytime I shoot on location or at abandoned buildings. I hope you enjoy this long exposure cemetery shoot.
I needed a day to just unplug and do something fun, explore and go somewhere I’ve never been before. I called a model friend of mine and asked her if she wanted to do something bizarre, involving a creepy mask I found, with long exposure photography. I went to Kentucky and we went to an abandoned hospital and I really loved it. I explained to her how to move and pause, in the sequence of doing shutter drag photography. There’s definitely patience and science involved in completing this task successfully. With these I used a 10 second shutter and a variable neutral density filter so that the image wouldn’t be overexposed.
I have no idea what inspired this particular mask and concept. I just wanted to use it and do something creative to help my creative soul. These things are necessary to translate to my fine art nude and boudoir work, when I can invent a concept, I can think faster when on the job and use that creativity to my advantage….as well as to benefit my clients.
While I was at the photographers’ get together out in the country, I spotted an abandoned house that no one else really saw as a prospective location to capture great art through a camera lens. I saw all kinds of possibilities there, would be perfect for a ghost from the past to haunt this house….ideas began to brew. One of the models there had some idle time, and she was perfect for this! She had a white dress, and we found an axe handle at the property. Perfecto. I explained to her the concept I had in mind, and that we would be doing double exposure photography. Which means I use a tripod so non moving objects in the photo aren’t blurred. The camera has a solid base that hand holding it can’t provide slower than 1/15 to 1/30 second for most photographers. But moving objects get blurred. And for her to be a somewhat opaque ghost, she would need to make her movements quick and robotic, then stop short and stay still so she isn’t all one big blur. It’s a challenge and unique skill set for the photographer and the model to do double exposure, shutter drag photography.
While the shutter is open, any movement is blurred and trailed….and how much depends on shutter speed. Freezing after movement is how the subject’s image is recognizable but opaque and ghostly. Doing that in the time the shutter is open is the trick. And doing this in any sun condition is an even greater challenge because slow shutter speed lets more light in, and most lenses have an F22 or F32 Fstop limit. For more detailed technical information on how to do successful long exposure photography, I will point you to my mainstream photography blog article that explains it more technically. 🙂 How to do shutter drag photography . Also an earlier article on this blog 🙂 http://farrellgallery.com/blog/double-exposure-photography/
I hope you enjoy this recent artistic creation, thanks Heather for your patience!