Swirls of Light Using Time Exposure


Craig Sillitoe has been grilled before. His first grilling, Photographing the Shrine of Remembrance contains a short profile. You can vote to grill more of his images at About Photogrill.

PHOTOGRILL: Why did you take this photo?

PHOTOGRAPHER: It was to go with a story about Professor Robert Lamb who was controvercially sacked from the Melbourne Synchrotron. Ideally the imagery would go with the synchrotron theme, but also it would signify the whirlwind life of Professor Lamb recently.

PHOTOGRILL: How did the idea for swirling lights come up?

PHOTOGRAPHER: It’s a great thing about working in an office full of creative talent. Often there is no formal meeting about it, just a few photographers & picture editors trying to wow each other with ideas. Then the photographer who’s assignment it is has to think about how to make each idea work. This was Sunday Age photographer Simon O’Dwyer’s idea. It worked perfectly with the brief, so I asked Simon to help me shoot it in the studio. Though it could’ve been done in any dark room.

PHOTOGRILL: So how did you take the picture?

Professor Robert Lamb who was sacked from the synchrotron  09/12/2009 Pic By Craig Sillitoe SPECIAL 000PHOTOGRAPHER: It was a long tripod based exposure, 8 seconds at f8, 200 ISO. The swirling effect was simply from Simon rotating a torch round and round pointing at the camera, both behind Professor Lamb and between him and the camera. Using a digital camera for this type of work is so much easier than film. I could check the effect of variations in exposure and alter the size and location of the swirls. I liked the hair-light effect when the torch lit Professor Lamb from behind. It’s just as well he’s a patient man because Simon and I fooled around with this for quite while.

For the portrait lighting I tried a larger softbox but it simply bounced light all round the studio and we lost the blackness in the shadows that worked for this shot. The best result was from one small softbox up quite close to the subject, which went off at the start of the exposure. I really like small softboxes for this reason, you can move them much closer than an umbrella to really control the light.

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One Response to “Swirls of Light Using Time Exposure”

  1. Brenda Johima says:

    Really LOVE this : http://www.photogrill.com/archives/175 : What a Gr8 way 2 make portraits exciting! FUN!
    via twitter

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