Friday, December 11, 2015

I keep failing to catch the sunrise...

Olympus OMD E-M1 with 12-40mm f/2.8, 25" at 15mm, f/4.0 and ISO 200.

Early last month I made statements regarding how to maintain a more positive mood during the Winter months, waking up early and catching sunrise on the regular, and I've done a piss poor job in the past week of adhering to that regimine. Predictably, my mood and emotional health are suffering for it. Weird issue I didn't foresee at the time, the sun is taking too long to rise right now - I'm getting up plenty early, but the sun never makes it over the horizon before I need to be at work. So... okay, sorry, my theoretical methodology is not as foolproof as I thought. Still, I have been up to things, just not in the past 4 days (which have been quite excruciating, and political cycle seepage at the office hasn't made coping easier).

The biggest thing I've been invested in so far as creative pursuits are concerned are long exposures in daylight and composite images to stack subsequent exposures for an even longer exposure sort of effect. It's been an addiction since picking up my B&W 10-stop ND filter a few months ago, and after experimenting with minutes-long bulb exposures using the big stopper I've transitioned to stacking shorter exposures in either Olympus' Live Composite shooting mode feature on the E-M1 or stacking exposures in Photoshop by stacking aligned layers as smart objects and calculating the mean exposure for each. All methods produce great results, and it only makes sense how much I'd enjoy daylight long exposures considering the affinity I've always had for similarly long exposures at night in years past.

Olympus OMD E-M1 with 12-40mm f/2.8, 20" at 24mm, f/5.6 and ISO 200.
Olympus OMD E-M1 with 12-40mm f/2.8, 25" at 15mm, f/5.6 and ISO 200.

It's a time consuming process, but one that reminds me very much of the time lapse work I buried my head into last year. Takes a lot of determined motivation to get off the ground at all, and each shot takes considerable time to build. Whether processing the image in Photoshop into a composite or running the composite live in-camera, that's probably the best verb that could be used to describe this long exposure process, "build". It's interesting to see how light shapes the scene as it changes, and by being selective about which frames of light are allowed to show in a given area of the image it's possible to surreally portray every element in only the phase of light that suits it best. As much an analysis of the effect of time as a visual art form.

Olympus OMD E-M1 with 12-40mm f/2.8, 4" at 31mm, f/5.6 and ISO 200.
Olympus OMD E-M1 with 12-40mm f/2.8, 4" at 27mm, f/4.0 and ISO 200.

I should have spent the mornings this week refining these techniques, but instead opted to pretend it was the more responsible thing to rush into the office so as to take as little PTO (vacation) as possible due to working shoots causing me to leave early and end up short on time. I'm not so sure getting into the office early was necessarily a responsible more, though... certainly a quantifiably better choice (save those vacation hours for an actual, you know, vacation), but on the abstract, my emotional health has suffered for it and I don't suspect I'm nearly as optimal a worker drone when flustered by lack of creative outlet. Oddly (and contradictory to my earlier post on abandoning the jack-of-all-trades mentality), my fixation has been on other media, squarely on account of my fixation with the very vibrant fan base of a game I recently played through, Undertale. I'm actually in the process of figuring out how to translate the very strong emotional themes of that title into my photographic work, though I don't imagine I will have much success. It really is its own masterpiece, and I fear soiling its imprint on me with impotent reproduction.