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Sunday, July 27, 2008

One Hobbit Marathon

Followers of this blog know I'm behind in my reading of the 200 page manual that came with my camera. (It came on disk but I printed it out because otherwise I would never read it.) Night photography is a project I'm embarking on slowly. One reason for that is with the little digital cameras you need a tripod at night and it's awkward to carry to restaurants and theatres. Another reason is I don't get out much.

Last night our good friends Ed and Linda took us to the delicious Sushi Roku at One Colorado. After dinner we stepped out onto the plaza to discover upturned faces of all ages gazing at the wall above Crate & Barrel. They were enraptured with the beginnings of an all-night marathon of Peter Jackson's the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The showing began at 8:30 with plans to go all night followed by a "sunrise Hobbit breakfast," all free. My first thought when I heard that was they could offer breakfast free because most of the crowd wouldn't make it all night. But people had brought pillows and sleeping bags, and those are three excellent movies.

Night photography with these little digital cameras means the shutter stays open for a long time. I'll learn how to control that myself but right now I'm learning the automatic settings. I like the ghosty feet in the foreground of this shot. But if you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can tell the people watching the film stayed pretty still.

40 comments:

Coltrane_lives said...

It's always nice to see that Bilbo lives on in the land of the Rose west of the Shire. What another creative event! You Pasadenians...Pasadenites...
Pasadeni(?)...do know how to live it up! Good luck with your nocturnal journeys with camera and sushi. :-)

Laurie said...

Oh Petrea, get a lightweight retractable tripod and you'll never look back! Night photography intrigues me the most, I believe. But then again, I like night time in general.

WHat a ghostly, dreamlike image. ANd tHe LOTR viewing looks like a lot of fun! Wonder what they served for breakfast?

Petrea said...

Coltrane, the correct term is "Pasadenish," or sometimes "Pasadenical."

Mmm, "lightweight retractable tripod." Will it fit in my purse? I'm off to Samy's (unless you have another suggestion?)...

USelaine said...

Don't forget Ben of Nelson, NZ's link posted back in February about the handy, cheap, pocket-sized image stabilizer.

USelaine said...

Is that a playful husband with mis-matched shoes doing the bunny hop?

Bernie K. said...

Even ring-wraiths have to visit the jeweler's sometime.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was Pasadonuts.

Knoxville Girl said...

I am also tripodless and use auto settings for night shots. I tend to hold the camera with my elbows in close to my body to stabilize, then hold my breath while I squeeze the shutter button. And if things still come out a bit blurry, I say it's artistic effect. Or I say pffft, whichever is more appropriate. This photo is so trippy, just in time for Jerry Garcia's birthday this week.

USelaine said...

Pasadenachos?

Petrea said...

usE, I took a second good look at those feet and I can't explain it. It's like we're missing half of each person. And I may try that image stabilizer, but it looks iffy. Have you tried it?

I don't know who's making me laugh harder, Bernie or Anonymous. Pasadonuts? Pasadenachos, says Elaine. Pasadenalicious.

KG, I tried letting my breath out (pffft!) instead of holding it. You see the effect.

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

Great photo! Miss Havisham said she was going to the LOTR screening...

Jim said...

Very cool, the feet look like chess pieces.

Petrea said...

Thank you, Jim.

Ah, WCGB. I'll go ask Miss H. what they served for sunrise Hobbit breakfast. I'm dying to know. Maybe it was Pasadenachos.

Ben Wideman said...

We were out at Gordon Biersch last night, must have just missed you!

Great image by the way.

marley said...

Nice effect. It looks spooky!

I'm the same as you with the whole night photo thing. I've taken a few but still need a tripod. When I took some of our town hall at night I rested my camera on a skip!

Katie said...

Fun looking movie event! I'm sure I would have slept through most of it though. I do like the ghost feet in this photo. I miss Pasadena already!!

Pascal Jim said...

Wonderful evening, but strange, showing a movie on the wall of a former movie palace. We were at opposite end of town enjoying the movie "A Man Named Pearl". The story of one man who changed an entire town through GARDENING!.

Bernie K. said...

At first I thought Headless Flaneurs might be a function of the way your camera's chip addresses its rows of transistors, creating a scan-distortion such as Lartigue did, in a famous photo:

http://tinyurl.com/6cuk8u

(BTW, he shot this with, during the 1913 Grand Prix at Picardie, when he was 10 years old! After years of argument, the car has been conclusively identified as a Theophilé Schneider. The driver was René Croquet, who finished tenth.)

Ahem. Lartigue used an early version of a 4x5 Speed Graphic camera, q.v: http://tinyurl.com/5dazaz.

According to online geniuses, the distortions of foreground and b.g. in Lartigue's photo are "the result of panning the camera while using a focal-plane shutter set at slow speed." The shot probably couldn't be replicated with a modern SLR, as the shutter travels too quickly across the film aperture. "The actual focal-plane time on [an old] 4x5 Speed Graphic is about 1/60 second." Later models could snap at 1/1000th/s.

"Lartigue's film, " says one of my sources, "must have been very slow … the actual exposure couldn't have been more than 1/100 tops—probably shot on a tripod with a pan head, or the men couldn't appear so sharp—and panned slower than the car was moving which accounts for the elliptical wheels."

I.e., he whipped his camera sideways fast enough that the light actually bent inside the camera's bellows, before it touched the film.

Many have noted the oddity that the car's wheels are elliptical but the round cover with the number "6" is not. "Perhaps because it is smaller, and it is slightly off round," says one photographer (makes sense).

ANYways, I think your photo seems to be missing parts of personages mainly because the variety of background detail fooled your chip, and our eyes. The brickwork behind the feet is simpler than the crowd and storefronts behind the heads. There's also some ghosting (crosstalk between the CMOS's transistors) that helps further obscure the upper extremities.

Bernie K. said...

"I.e., he whipped his camera sideways fast enough that the light actually bent inside the camera's bellows, before it touched the film."

That's can't be right. I don't grok the physics of this.

It must be that the shutter, travelling laterally, exposed the film "gradually." Light from the leading parts of the speeding car arrived at the film plane far enough in advance of light from the trailing parts that the information (the image) was laid down like a tilted shadow … except here, it's legible.

No wonder photography so astonished Niépce's brother! (http://tinyurl.com/5r6ztl)

USelaine said...

My goodness. Petrea did all that?

Bernie K. said...

Well, her Gallic precursor may have. I suspect Petrea (not to mention her ertswhile subjects in their Hobbitonian conga-line) was subject to somewhat a more digital smear of photons.

Petrea said...

Ben, I thought maybe I'd missed you AND Miss Havisham, but she emailed. Turns out she missed it. I'm sorry I missed you but I love the photo you got last night.

Marley, I tried using a railing and that helped. Imagine how many ghostly feet I'd have in the picture without it.

Welcome back, Katie! I mean...Pasadena misses you, too!

Was it really once a movie palace, Pascal Jim? I was thinking as I posted the photo that I need to post much more about Old Town, including photos and research.

Bernie K. Love the links. You have gone above and beyond, as Kaleb did the other day on the smog check question, and I really appreciate it when people do this because I think it enhances the blog, adds stuff I'd never have known. Thank you. But "grok"? Did you and I go to college together or something?

Sure, Elaine. Yeah. I meant to.

USelaine said...

Far be it from me to say I grok John, or anything like, but I still think he busted a bunny move there. Developing blog issues, perhaps. The whole unmatched shoe fashion meme is something The Sartorialist should be alerted to. Go John! I'm giving it a serious think.

Dina said...

Well I say, if you get fascinating photos like this, just toss the instruction book and tripod.
Would love to have been there for the Ring Cycle and Hobbit breakfast. You Pasadenaniks have all the fun.

P.S. Today Jerusalem Hills DP joined you for Zen Monday, sort of.

Bernie K. said...

You know, I should probably shut up about this, but if you look at your photo carefully, you can see that the ghosted foreground figures are just two people—& possibly even just one. Look at the shoes: they match. And their distance from each other, front to back, are roughly equal, suggesting a gait. Above them is the vestige of some striped garment.

Conclusion, Watson? As you held the camera to your distracted eye, someone walked before you and, for some reason (CMOS address scheme? strobe effect from a redeye flash? the flickering movie projector?), you recorded them—couple or sole perambulator—as a kind of translucent centipede.

And you thought you were just snapping a piccy …

USelaine said...

I did a Zen Monday too, sort of.

Cafe Observer said...

Does Bernie K have a blog?
If not, at least slice the man a piece of the ole blog, will ya.

USelaine said...

I don't know why he doesn't link to it.

Bernie K. said...

Not very interesting.

http://bernieman.blogspot.com/

freefalling said...

OMG - by the time I get here you've got 29 comments!
Geez.
It takes a long time to get here from all the way down there.

Unintended or not - I love how this photo turned out.
A conga line at the flicks.
(Do you call 'em flicks?)

I'd rather poke my eyes out than use a tripod (this may be evident in the quality of my photography!!)

USelaine said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
babooshka said...

It was actually he spooky purple veil of light that due me to the image. Serendipity soemtimes produces the most interesting imges. Notoriously difficult to capture artificail nightlight with handheld digitals, but to be homest a tripod for these babaies isn't much use either. The bigger the lens the more light is captured which stops the blurring of colours. As for the Hobbit. I'm originally from the area that the shire is based on. I used to frequent the pub called the "Ivy" that the hobbits own pub was based on. Sadly no hairy feet were visible to confirm if nay hobbits present.

life observer said...

Bernie K, congratulations on having your own blog!
But, apparently you are much more interested in other blogs than your own.
Maybe one day a slice of our blogging will infect you with the addiction! Especially since you have much of interest to share.

Petrea said...

Well, I wanted the blog to have a life of its own.

Right, Elaine, but I think I've put him through enough ("stop here! I need a photo!") that it's time to buy him a pair of shoes that match.

I love the Buddhist bell, Dina. I always learn something at your blog and enjoy myself doing it.

They don't match, Bernie, one is a tennie and the other a sandal. But I appreciate your attention to the details.

Here's the html for those of you who would like to make links in your comments:
thewordsyouwant

I didn't put that in exactly as it should be. Remove the spaces between the quotation marks, as well as the ones between > and < so that the only space in the whole thing comes after the first a. I keep this thing in a doc. so I can copy and paste it anywhere. And you don't have to use tiny urls.

Freefalling, I don't think we use the word "flicks" so much, but we know what it means. I know! I'm excited when I get a lot of comments. Makes me feel like a real blogger.

I want to visit your neighborhood, Babooshka. American children who grew up in the 50s and 60s (like me) learned a romantic vision of England by reading fairy tales. My visit in 1999 did not disappoint, but I want to visit again and stay a while!

The Mt. Baldy Eagle said...

Beautiful shot! These timed exposure shots make some of the most interesting shots.

Its 11am on a monday morning and I can already use some Marzen beer at Gordon Biersch!

Miss Havisham said...

MISSIVE FROM MY FRIENDS WHO STAYED FOR HOBBIT BREAKFAST:

"It was nutty scones and hardy baked goods like that with fruit (apples, oranges) and beer. We also had coffee. There were about 100 people for the breakfast, which was also free."

BEER! They're going to do it again next year. The whole festival went really well.

Petrea said...

Hi Mt. Baldy Eagle, did you check out Ben's post from the same day? He was at Gordon Biersch that night, and found a cool shot nearby.

THANK YOU, Miss Havisham! We must make a pact to go next year, eh?

USelaine said...

Oh, but I like John's shoes just like they are! The only limiting factor I can think of would be getting the heel height just the same on both feet, to spare the spine and all. It's a cool groove.

Uhm, so you dress your husband?

Petrea said...

I notice my link instructions didn't work. Oh, I think I'm so smart.

Yeah, I dress him Elaine. The hard part is getting him to sit still while I put on his socks 'cause he's fidgety.

USelaine said...

Ah, explains that flip-flop then.

Hey! This is the fortieth comment! Do more of that physics stuff, P. It's good.