Light and Photography Amaze Me
A 25-second exposure photograph of a chair in a very dark room
from [daily dose of imagery], courtesy of Nick. The depth of field is stunning.
When I was a senior in high school, I took Tom Swope's photography class, and at the same time I was taking Art 15 at Cal. I had just learned about depth of field and the trade off between focus and film speed, when one of the artists who came to Art 15 showed us some photographs of polished brass sculptures. He had placed the smooth, curvaceous abstract shapes on his fire escape at night, and set up his camera with a good tripod and very long exposures--hours in some cases. Even though they were only iluminated by the light from a street lamp, the length of the exposure allowed him to use a tiny aperture and get magnificent depth of field. The clarity of the metallic sculptures and the resulting illusion of three-dimensionality made me want to reach into the print and stroke them. Yet I somehow had a strong sense of how dark the fire escape was---the continuous piling of all those photons onto the film somehow did not seem equivalent to a flash bulb emitting the same number of photons in a smaller space of time.