Sharp and Soft

By: Gustav Hoiland

May 10 2010

Category: night light

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Focal Length:135mm
Shutter:2 sec
Camera:NIKON D80


Ahh, the wonders of long exposures. I haven’t been shooting much of this lately. I also haven’t been riding in the backseat of a car for many hours at night lately either, which I think was the environment where I shot this. Perhaps not. I can’t quite tell. I see headlights, a streetlight, a stoplight (green), and traces of other incandescence.

Since this was shot in the late evening, as opposed to dead of night, there’s the deep blue of the sky in it. I’m not sure if I like any look more than that. The deep blue fading into black with these wonderful strokes of illumination dancing all abouts. Except perhaps the warm/cool combination that I’m always gushing over. Whatever’s going on, this is the kind of photography that really makes me tick.

One of my basic qualifications for this type of shot is the non-uniformity of everything. It’s not 25 different lights, all going in the exact same patterns and otherwise … I don’t know, just looking like the camera was shaken. Also most of this kind of work that I see is terrible, and by that I mean I’ve spent a good deal of time shooting it and have quite high standards. Heck 95% of what I shoot in this style is garbage, but from that practice I’ve learned to previsualize what effects and looks I can achieve and get stuff like this shot. OK, it’s just as likely that this shot was a complete accident. But I goddamn love it.

On the first point in that last paragraph, we’ve got the two primary white stripes on the left that follow mostly the same motions, except near the sharper (lower) tips where they seem to fall out of sync. They’re different than the next car over. And different than the green stoplight in the corner, and the streetlight in the top left. That’s what I’m talking about.

If I ever find myself living in a chic loft (gimme 30 years or so), this stuff’ll be on at least one of the non-brick-exposed walls.


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