Roll 3: A night at the Opera

These photographs were taken and developed back on some barmy February (2011) night. Night photography is something that has always intrigued me and this is the first time I was headed out to shoot a roll of film in these conditions.

Night photography is reasonable simple with a digital camera if you had a tripod and a cable release. With film there is two other things to keep in mind. One is the high contrast situation, street lights and a dark sky. The other is film reciprocity failure. Recently there was a new book publish on night Photography by Lance Keimig, the best part of this book is it looks a both using film and digital, I will give a review of this book in a future post.

The high contrast problem is about how many stops there are between the shadows you want to have detail in and the bright points or light. This refers back to the zone system and compensation developing. Something that I did not know at the time, hence it was not used here, I am still looking into it.

The film reciprocity failure is discussed in the my previous blog post here.

Proof Sheet 003

This is Fuji Across 100 developed in XTOL1:1 for 8:30 at 21C with agitation for the first minute and then for 10 seconds every minute afterwards. I used water as a stop bath, Kodak Rapid fixer for 5 minutes and finally Hypo Clear for 2 minutes before the final water wash.

Inside the Sails

One of the problems with shooting such a well known landmark it is hard to find an original angle to make an interesting photograph from. While this may not be the original angle it was just a shot I had to get out of my system before looking for more unique angles. This is an important thing when taking a photograph or any touts destination get a good photograph of the classic angles before you go hunting for the less well know angle or find a brand new angle.

Opera House looking West

This was one of the early shots that I took during the sunset looking into the sun, here the sun is behind the sails sitting on or below the horizon. What I like about it is the gentleman on the right of shot and the way his back is ached. I like reoccurring geometrical objects and here his back and the opera house sails are similar shapes.

Three Sails

This is my favourite shoot that I took that night. When you first walk up to the opera house is a mass of stairs leading up to the doors, which don't always make into the photographs as the long shots are generally too far away for you to tell and that the sails are quite inspiring and you want to get get right up to them as quickly as you can.

Zig Zag Tiles

As night was starting to settle in I started to look for detail shots. These tiles are on the western most side of the opera house which is the side that is used as a screen during the vivid festival every year in May/June. Tonight though they were illuminated with the normal spot lights.

Escalator Motion

After getting every thing I could of the opera house during blue hour I still have a couple more frames to use up before I could develop the roll, so I went off in the hunt for more photographical inspiration. These escalators are not too far from Circular quay, and just screamed out to by shot symmetrically like this. I also used a long shutter speed to blur out the escalator steps to simplify the image.