Multi-flash Long Exposure Photography
I have been experimenting with a technique I like to call Multi-flash Long Exposure Photography. Here my ultimate aim is to develop a form of imagery that sits somewhere between a video and a conventional still image. Scroll down for some preliminary examples:
Cooked with my soul
Exposure time: 72 seconds
Focal length: 55mm
Illumination 1: External; 0.3 second; lit the face on the right
Illumination 2: External; 9 seconds; lit the face in the centre
Both of the faces belong to the same person.
Drink me before I evaporate
Exposure time: 25 seconds
Focal length: 55mm
Illumination 1: External (0.3 second; lit the bottom of the bowl)
Illumination 2: External (7 seconds; lit the face)
The smoke of blind spirits
Exposure time: 6 seconds
Focal length: 25mm
Illumination 1: External (0.3 second; lit the face on the left)
Illumination 2: External strobe light (lit the faces in motion)
All the faces belong to the same person.
Air is invisible
Exposure time: 1/160 seconds
Focal length: 30 mm
Composing this picture was possible without any photoshop/digital manipulation because air is invisible. The candles were blown out from behind the camera by collapsing two different plastic bottles at the same time. The human subject is only pretending to blow out the candles.
Exposure time: 534 seconds
Focal length: 18 mm
Wind makes the leaves rustle and blurs them in this long-exposure picture. The trunk and the woody branches remain unmoved.
The pictures I could never take
8 February 2021
“When I got my first camera at fifteen, a hand-me-down 35mm Canon from my uncle, I eagerly took pictures of everything I laid eyes on in suburban New Jersey. ... But I also became obsessed with the pictures I missed. The more I thought about documenting what I saw, the more keenly aware I was of the moments I failed to apprehend.”
I had a similar feeling yesterday. Saw a swarm of moths lit brilliantly by their destination, that halogen street-lamp just outside my balcony. I had seen something similar last year, perhaps during the same week, maybe on the same day. Those bright spots moving disorderly near the lamp convinced me that the moment was worth capturing. I imagined it would make a nice long-exposure image, somewhat like the archaic structure of the atom that Ernest Rutherford had proposed. And then I noticed the bats! Must have missed them last year. Navigating the invisibility of sound, they showed up at this source of light to catch the poor insects with spectacular ease and grace. Countering chaos with order, they flew like arrows to seize their prey. Before going inside to get my camera, I lingered on in praise for half-a-minute more than I should have. And then I wasted two more in swapping lenses. That was just enough time for another lesson about the ephemerality of such precious moments. The bats had disappeared, and the swarm was nowhere to be seen. The moment had gone. Maybe I’ll do better next year.
- Lucy McKeon (The New York Review of Books, February 2018)