Vanishing Act

I am not a morning person. In fact, I am the kind of guy who looks forward to that extra hour of sleep on the weekends and certainly dreads waking up in the wee hours when forced to take a morning flight. This poses a bit of a problem when it comes to photography. Not only do I miss out on the opportunity to take a decent picture at sunrise, but also miss out on the only time of day when one can avoid crowds at a famous tourist attraction.

The former, I can’t really do much about. It is no coincidence that I take most of my pictures at sunset. For the latter however, there is a surprisingly simple solution. The key to this David Blaine-style trick is the camera’s shutter speed. Slow the shutter speed enough (upwards of 15-20 seconds) and anything that is moving within the frame, will not get recorded on the camera’s sensor. It is that easy!

Here is a picture of the famous Louvre Museum in Paris. It was a busy Wednesday afternoon at the museum and swarms of people were wondering around the plaza near the famous glass pyramid entrance. Eager to take a picture, I decided to mount my camera on a tripod and closed my aperture down to F14. This gave me a meter reading of 25 secs – long enough to make everyone not standing still, disappear!

Louvre - 1920c

Shot with my tripod mounted Canon 60D and my Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 DC HSM lens, at ISO 100, F14, at 25 sec.

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Perfume Scent

Just north east of Venice, and only a few minutes away on the Vaporetto, is the island of Murano. This island is world famous for its glass making, and while there I had the chance to witness first hand the skills of the local artisans, by attending one of the many shows that were available for the visiting tourists.

I am not big on souvenirs, because I truly believe that the best memento I can get from any place I visit, is a decent selection of photographs showcasing the best the region has to offer. I did however break my rule this time around, when I walked into one of the many glass shops and saw this tiny perfume bottle. Believe me when I say that I have no practical use for this bottle, but what compelled me to purchase it was my immediate thought of photographing it with smoke coming out of its nozzle! For me this isn’t really a new idea, as I have tried smoke photography before with a coffee cup and a cow milk container (see link). Nonetheless, here is yet another attempt, the final result of which is fairly close to what I initially had in mind.Perfume bottle - 1920c

This is a composite of two separate photographs – one of the smoke and one of the actual bottle.

Smoke: Taken with my handheld Canon 60D and Canon 24-70mm F2.8L lens at ISO 100, F13, 1/250th of a sec.

Perfume Bottle: Taken with my tripod mounted Canon 60D and Canon 100mm F2.8 lens at ISO 100, F16, 1.3 sec (with +2 1/3 ev)