Wednesday 14 May 2014

Project "Welsh Pony"- day and night shoots

Well, after all that seriously protracted miniatures building, I finally got chance to do a 'proper' shoot using the "Welsh Pony" model.  The whole point of the project was to experiment with doing odd, motion-blur, motion capture, long-exposure photography, and take a nice eye-catching image without resort to photoshop.  Apologies in advance for the picture overload, but this may be the last big model shoot I do for a while, so I'm making the most of it.  The whole backstory of the build is on the model-making blog if people are interested:
The location; the original plan was to shoot in Wales, in a spot I'd used in the Model Village and Chair projects.  However, for a combination of reasons, a location visit ended up not happening, so I ended up improvising the pics in the back garden of the in-laws... its not quite what I wanted for the daylight pics, as it looks obviously like a garden rather than a hillside (where a few tricks with the perspective could have been done).
So above is the set-up for the shot, and below, a quick try to test the principle.
The camera rig on the track, and the loco with the 'steam' which is actually a lot of cotton wool over a glue spreader, which slots into the funnel.  The shame of the cotton used to pull the loco is that it should have been grey, as the black has ended up showing up too strongly in the pics...  Also, the track (which was coloured right for Wales) stands out a bit too much with the very, very green garden.
Another problem, which was that I ended up appearing in lots of the shots by accident, posing in the not entirely flattering 'photographer-lying-face-down-in-the-wet-grass' low angle position.
And another problem, though a nice weird shot, the camera toppling over on the rig; a side effect (foreseen) of the heavy camera wobbling around on the rig.
Finally though, exactly the sort of shot I was after.  Apart from the over-scale foliage, and the black cotton, its what I was after, and proves the principle I was aiming for.
Something else I wanted to try was a side-on capture, trying to freeze the loco in a blurred landscape, but there was too much to shoot, trying to pan the camera, take the pic, and drag the train along (it might be easier with the loco motorised though, so I may return to the idea at some point).
After a little experiment with balancing the camera on the rig, I managed to get some shots at a slight angle, showing more of the train...

Not enough blurring above, and below, a little too long an exposure just left it a bit too light and the greens somewhat lurid.

And below, really over-exposed.  Still, nicely weird shot though, and does somewhat disguise the over-scale foliage.

Finally, a bit blurry, but I like the whole impression of it being shot from another train running in front. 

One of the original intentions with the project was to try and do some night shots too, which I thought would provide a dramatic shot with a few careful lighting effects, and also help disguise the backdrops a bit.  Its also the sort of night shot you cant do with real trains (having tried; at least, not with my camera, it just cant cope with the low lighting even at twilight or sunset, capturing moving targets).
The coaches are lit from inside by bike lights; should be yellow, but I couldn't find any transparent plastic to colour the lights before the shoot...
Below, the set-up... to avoid more grovelling about on the grass, I used a raised bed this time, bit easier to manage the shots and its disguised shooting in the dark.
And without flash, lit with the coaches, a single headlamp from Christmas tree lights, and a red LED from a cheap torch for the firebox glow.  The steam looks rather better in the dark, incidentally.
Quick test for the head-on pics, forgetting to turn the house-lights out in the background.
And over-lit using a large LED torch mounted on top of the camera.  The exposure time was long enough to reveal the sky glowing from the moon on the right, but also the lighting exposed the edge of the board supporting the bridge.
These shots are rather better, and more what I was going for; not sure which works best, the blurred or the very blurred (below).  Same problems with the thread as the daylight shots mindyou.
The side-on shots didn't work out quite as well this time, as the camera wobbling on the rig too much was a little too obvious with the darker shots than the daylight ones.
Still, the bottom image is one of my favourites from the whole shoot.  I suspect I wont get time for another shot at this project, certainly for a while, but its been good trying out the different shooting techniques, it was fun building the model, and a pleasant distraction from real life.

No comments:

Post a Comment