Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Corn Lilies

In the springtime back in upstate New York, I enjoyed going out in early evening and photographing the young corn lily plants along the river.  I would setup my large view camera just after sundown and prepare for a few long exposures ranging from 5 to 10 minutes in time.  The need for such a long exposure is required because of the small f-stop needed for close up work with a view camera, reciprocity failure of the film, and the slow film speed I liked working with. The light is very soft at this time of day and the leaves of the plants take on a wonderful glow from the low ambient light.  There is a real challenge to photographing in low light, but with experience it can render some very rewarding images. The slightest breeze during the long exposure could ruin the image.  Many times I would be several minutes into an exposure and a gentle breeze would come up just enough to make the leaves rock back and forth.  Knowing that the first signs of movement would not be recorded in a long exposure, I would cover the front of my lens with the dark slide from my film holder and wait for the the breeze to stop.  Once the plants stopped moving I would continue my exposure and add any extra time I thought may be need because of the failing light conditions I was working in.  The soft light with the added benefit of increased contrast in the negative due to reciprocity failure of the film is a great advantage when photographing basically a mono toned subject like plants.

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