Centrifugal

December 04, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Its Christmas season again and La Grande Roue has been installed in the Place de la Concorde, ready for intrepid sightseers to climb into the swinging cabins and be gently swept into the night sky for a breathtaking view of Paris’ twinkling light show on the Champs Elysees…but, oh no…

 

CentrifugalCentrifugalCOPYRIGHT 2008 Paul Grayson AMDG

 

The Centrifuge Monster

 

…something is going wrong with the mechanism!! Instead of gently rolling into the night sky, the machine is speeding up, faster and faster, and innocent tourists are being thrust into the roof of their cabins, with only a few millimetres of aluminium saving them from being hurled into space and beyond the Peripherique.

 

The shocked photographer recording the scene drops his shutter release cable onto his tripod and reaches for his telephone to alert the authorities…or maybe not?

 

Reality Check

 

Perhaps this is just an example of a tripod-based night exposure? As an alternative to recording the scene in a “natural” mode, I decided to experiment with a high quality ISO and aperture combination (ISO 320 and f22), letting the speed be decided by the camera. This turned out to be 4 seconds, which was no problem, for either the moving or fixed elements of the scene, given the use of a heavy, carbon fibre tripod, further stabilized by my camera bag hanging from the hook on the centre-mounted ball head.

 

Pleasing Result

 

I was pleased with both the disconcerting visual impact and overall aesthetic of the photograph, given the resultant colours and spin patterns of the different moving structures. The combination of the time lapse and the movement diluted the otherwise garish impact of the fairground lighting on the wheel, creating softer blue and brown tones in the blur.

 

The ISO and aperture enhanced both the static objects and the quality of the inky black background, especially the latter, which might easily have suffered from excessive “noise”.

 

The cocoon effect of the crane-hung lighting on the upper mid-right of the image was a bonus surprise created by the time lapse, since the actual lighting structure was in four pieces, turning slowly.

 

Settings

 

Camera: Nikon D300

Lens: VR 70-200mm zoom f/2.8G

Focal Length: 70mm

VR: Off

Focus Mode: AF-C

Autofocus Area Mode: Single

Aperture: f/22

Shutter Speed: 4s

Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority

Exposure Compensation : -1EV

Bracketing:  None

Metering: Centre weighted

ISO Sensitivity: 320

Mounted on a Tripod

 

I hope that this image has a seasonal feel and adds to your Christmas decorative efforts. Enjoy!

 

Copyright Paul Grayson 2014


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