Writing with light is the literal definition of photography. It’s also something you can do with a small light, a long exposure and a fairly steady hand. I’ve been experimenting with long exposure recently, and most of initial efforts dealt with moving strands of Christmas lights in myriad directions to somewhat hypnotic ends. Then the idea of writing messages came along.
On the greyest of days, photographs can often suffer from a lack of color. That’s not to say we should be downcast when it’s overcast, but a little color goes a long way when it’s a drizzly mess outside. While the Christmas season has long since passed, Christmas lights can make for a compelling chromatic subject.
All photographs taken by and used with expressed permission from Jesús Chapa-Malacara.
Motion has always been Brooklyn-based photographer Jesús Chapa-Malacara‘s focus in many, if not most, of his photographs. A former contemporary ballet dancer himself, he knows and understands motion as well as sees the aesthetics in it that many won’t – whether it be from a small child in play or an athlete in training. And he’s learned to translate what he sees into photographs so that everyone else can appreciate it too.
Jesús loves and has a knack for capturing dances in his photographs but most recently, he has taken this talent into another level. He’s taken his focus from one part of dance to the other, lesser known one. Rather than taking the usual photos of dance moves or tricks, he’s now focusing on the in-between – the movement of a dancer between each position, and he’s figured out a way to show all these in-between movements in a single shot, without the help of Photoshop.
As improbable as it may seem, what you see in that photograph (and the ones below) is not the result of Photoshop but instead of true innovation in what today might be considered old-school photography. Thoughtful and creative lighting, extraordinary photo subjects, an exacting attention to detail and a lot of hard work (on my part as well as on the part of my dance friends).
To launch his new found technique, which he plans to pursue further through a Kickstarter campaign, he has released a stunning series called “Esprit de Corps.” Esprit de Corps features beautifully and artfully-captured photographs of some of the world’s best ballet dancers in motion. Each of the photographs in this series is as haunting as it is extraordinary, showing the fluid movements of each dancer as if time has slowed down considerably and then suddenly frozen, so that you see the ghosts of past movements surrounding a dancer in midst graceful motion.
See the amazing photos in this series after the jump. To find out more about Jesús’ work, check out his website or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.
The night sky is probably one of the hardest things to photograph since not only does it require skill, it is more than anything a test of patience and some knowledge of how the earth moves.
First of all, you would have to find a really dark spot away from civilization, where you would probably spend hours to get the perfect shot, so that the city lights aren’t polluting the sky – if you live in a big city like New York, Los Angeles, or Paris, this part isn’t easily accomplished. Then you’d have to know to use different techniques for different subjects; with shooting star trails, for example, you’d need really long exposures; on the other hand, you cannot leave the shutter open too long when shooting the Milky Way. Plus there are all these other things you’d have to consider, like knowing where the North Star is and finding the right foreground to add dimension to your shot.
As complex as it is to capture on camera though, the night sky has always proved a mesmerizing subject, not only because its majestic and pretty but also because it’s the perfect reminder of how truly vast the universe is. And tutorials on how to capture it right are always a nice relief to those of us who want to take on the challenge.
Thankfully, the folks at Tutsplus recently published a Starlight Time Lapse Video tutorial to add to the endless list of night sky photography resources available to us on the Internet. Their (very detailed) tutorial discusses everything from finding the right location to what settings you would be using to how you would be stitching together your shots to create your time lapse video. And they are making the whole process sound like a piece of cake that you wouldn’t be able to resist.
According to a post on Olympus Russia’s Facebook page, there’s new software on the way tomorrow for the E-M1. Part of the package will help you with long exposures as it improves image quality in Live Bulb. You’ll also get improved image stabilization and better autofocus in low-light conditions. The E-M1 will also play nicer in with the Lumix G Vario 14-140mm f3.5-5.6 ASPH lens which means the chromatic aberration problem’s been fixed.
Editor’s Note: Creating the Photograph is a series that we’re starting where we interview photographers all about how they created an image. Want to be featured? Email chrisgampat[at]thephoblographer[dot]com
Aaron Nace is one of the head honchos over at Phlearn: arguably one of the best photography learning website ever. Since seeing his video on how to do Terry Richardson’s lighting, I was hooked on the creative content they produce. It was by chance that I found his image, “Night Flight” on 500px. Knowing what the man is capable of, I was eager to know how he shot it.