Sep. 17th, 2012

terriko: Yup, I took this one. The eyes are paper, not photoshop (chair)
I'm trying to get back into the swing of doing active photo assignments every week. So here's this week's photos and explanations:

Trail and tram

Trail and tram

Taken for AAW: Still and Moving

The Sandia mountain peak is at 10,378 feet, and the tram is definitely the fastest way there, taking you from 6500ish feet to over ten thousand in around 15 minutes. More about the Sandia tram. However, it is actually possible to hike all the way up there if you have a lot of time and even more stamina... One way is definitely faster than the other.

On the left, you can see the quiet hiking trail that I'm standing on to take the picture (note the complete lack of guard rails as you walk along the edge of the ridge) and on the right you can see the tram, constantly in motion bringing passengers ascending to the peak. (Yup, you can see the passengers if you view this large!)

What it took:
$20 for the tram ride, a short hike along the ridge looking for a nice spot where I could see both trail and tram, and some waiting. I wish I'd thought to do a nice HDR here, but I forgot until the tram was too close to fiddle with camera settings, so this was post-processed to balance out the exposure a bit and bring out some more of the colour the way it looked to my eyes.

Music in motion and stillness

Music in motion and stillness

Taken for AAW: Still and Moving

As a musician, I'm often told to remember that the silences and stillness are as important to a piece as the notes, so when I saw the "Still and moving" assignment I immediately thought of music.

It's hard to show sound in a photo, but it is a little possible with a stringed instrument because you can see the moving strings that produce the sound. In this case, the four right most or lowest strings are being plucked, while the two upper strings remain (mostly) still.

What it took:
Guitar on my lap (played more dobro-style) so I could better manage the lighting and reach the camera shutter without risk of the instrument slipping. I pointed a small warm light at my fingers to get some shine and enough light to brighten the strings so you'd be able to see the motion. Then put the camera on a tripod and set the aperture to 1.4 for soft bokeh around the edges and to amplify any motion of the strings. I think I used the timer for this shot, although I experimented with the remote and with operating the camera directly. I chose a 1/10 exposure so that you'd see the motion blur on the things I was intentionally moving and hopefully not the guitar body (or camera when I was hitting the shutter directly). I tried first with just the strings moving, but it wasn't sufficiently obvious what was going on unless you knew what to look for, and I wanted a picture that was more clear and hopefully satisfying to non-musicians!

All the fiddling happened before the photo was taken, so this is straight out of camera (well, converted to jpg, but close enough)

Another photo idea that didn't make it:
I thought it would have been nice to set up the photo so that you could see the still fingers holding a chord on the neck of the guitar and the moving fingers doing fingerpicking. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure I could manage the lighting and camera without a helper on that one, so I decided to go with the simpler shot. Perhaps another day!


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