Monday, January 6, 2014

Be glad your mother isn't a photographer

I couldn't fall asleep tonight so I started taking pictures of my husband who had fallen asleep watching Netflix on his phone. I was trying out a new app called SlowShutter (thanks, Jackie!) and leaving the camera lens open to capture a sleeping Sean. I gave up after a few shots because I'm terrible at iPhone photography and I was only getting blurry photos of Sean's headphones and pillow. So then the photographer in me thought that I'd like to capture my sleeping babies using light painting, a technique where the shutter is left open in a dark room and you "paint" in the light with a flashlight or other source of light.

Often when I can't sleep I take my tripod outside and photograph the night sky. In the summer, especially. This one was taken in August:


It uses the same slow shutter method but the sky is bright enough so that light painting is not needed. And since tonight's low is 7°, I skipped the backyard and captured a different kind of twilight.

Here are the final images of my sleeping babies:


Sleepy babies

I love that Dylan has a messy stack of books piled high and a fleet of trucks in his bed. He is very three.

These images are comprised of two shots each, one dark photo and one where I painted in the light. I created a double exposure for each to merge them into a subtler feel. You can see what the room really looks like on the left in this collage, and the photos brightened by my waving the flashlight app from my iPhone over the kids are on the right. The settings are the same--f3.5, 8 second shutter, ISO 250--but the photos are altered by the light painting.

Sleepy babies1

You can barely see Dylan in his dark room without bringing in an external light source.

Neither of the kids woke up, they are pretty deep sleepers, but I did feel a little creepy standing near them with a tripod in the dark. It reminded me of that stalkery book I Love You Forever where the mom drives across town and sneaks into her adult son's room to rock him in her lap. Creeeeeeepy. But I always check in on the kids when they are asleep so I figure taking their picture so that I will always remember these moments isn't much different.

And I'm willing to pay for therapy years from now when they feel slighted that I snuck into their room with a camera and they were none the wiser until they saw photographic evidence.

I think I might try to sleep now. Good luck light painting!