ND – Dark, Cold, Blue
By deliberately defocussing, motion-blurring, over-saturating and abstracting in a number of other ways, both in-camera and subsequently in post-processing, I have attempted to recreate a hint of Rothko’s work as an abstract distraction from trying to tell a story and looking for “that one great shot” the rest of the time.
I feel I have attacked and abused my expensive camera equipment enough now and that I have also been a little too confined to home. In my previous posts in this series (Rothkoesque, Rothkoesque 2, Rothkoesque 3) I have casually experimented at home by pointing my camera at junctions between walls and ceilings mostly, and even lazily the corner of my wardrobe when I couldn’t even be bothered to roll out of bed to achieve a masterpiece 😉
Yes, don’t dwell on the fact that I could grab my camera without rolling out of bed. Sad? Maybe, but let’s move on…
I am paid to do “better” things…
…but European legislation dictates a certain minimum amount of time off during the day when working with computers all the time, so I digressed from my daily duties and randomly brainwaved the concept that (a) I needed to do more iPhone photography, and (b) I needed to finally take my Rothko fetish outdoors.
So there I was, iPhone in hand, sat comatose at my office desk, looking for something really profound to do.
I love ‘Rothko Experiment 13′, it came out so much better than I had hoped, though to be fair it was not my first shot and so I had already gained some knowledge by the time that I had done this one.
With such limited control over the iPhone’s camera I had to improvise, and the only thing I could think of to attempt some of the techniques that I had previously used was to hold the iPhones’ camera way too close to the subject to deliberately get it below the cameras’ minimum focussing distance. I couldn’t slow the shutter down to introduce deliberate motion blur and some of the other things I would normally bastardise my D700 to do were off-limits as well.
Interestingly, I also did very little in post-processing on this image compared with what I had done for previous posts on this subject. The image is grainy because that’s what the iPhone is like in poor lighting conditions and I rather liked it here.
As with all my Rothko shots, I made no attempt to find a good photographic situation. I’ve usually used a very good camera in poor light, so to extrapolate that I was using here a poor camera in poor light. Again, the iPhone has no controls for much of what I wanted to do, so the ISO 1000 designation is all its’ own and totally my fault for using it in anything but the most lucid lighting conditions.
‘Rothko Experiment 14’ is of the multi-angular edge of the grey plastic surround of an LCD monitor on my desk against the deep red colouring of a felt covered pin-board on the wall behind. I placed the camera mere millimetres from the monitor so as to force it to be out of focus from being too close, and although the red felt was at an acceptable distance, it was a dark fuzzy colour in a dark fuzzy place. Perfect!
Leaving the worst ’til last, I present the first shot of this series that I actually took. As you can see I had a bit to learn, but it’s not so bad given the end objective, and I was starting to grow to love the poor grainy texture that the dimly lit iPhone 3GS camera produced.
‘Rothko Experiment 12’ depicts the edge of a brown wooden picture frame slightly in front of the edge of a black plastic one. Both frames will cheer Mrs ND up as the pictures in them are both of my beautiful wife who doesn’t believe that the pictures she gave me of her are actually on my desk at work.
Funnily enough, with my previous posts I have attempted to reduce the noise in the images from the much higher performing camera/lens combo that I have used. By post-processing them in Aperture’s 2 or 3, and subsequently running a couple of them through The Gimp I have tried to tidy the images up so that the quality was acceptable.
But (and yes, here also, I know that I should not start a sentence with ‘But’), despite having used a significantly lower performing camera, and sometimes in even worse lighting conditions, I have felt liberation on the noise front, and welcome, indeed embrace the noise in these images as a critical defining part of them in search of my goal; the perfect Rothko in-camera homage…
’till next time my fair friends…