Through the lens of our winner – Jane.A.Keats

Take a look at last week’s Photo Friday winning image by Jane.A.Keats. This great shot was submitted in the ‘Unnatural Light’ theme, read below for a detailed response of how Jane achieved this winning image!

What camera did you use?
The camera I used is a Sony a200 that I bought a few years ago from CH in Geelong. My Mum had a Konica when I was young so I thought I’d check out the Sony Alpha range since they took over Konica/Minolta and I can still use old Minolta lenses on it.

What settings did you use?
ISO 100
24mm on a 18-70mm kit lens
f 5.0
shutter 95sec

Also it’s essential of course to use a tripod for this type of shot, and a remote shutter release which allows you to open the shutter for as long as you like.

What inspired this shot?
The inspiration came from a combination of the location, the photographer who taught me this style of photography, “Jackdaw”, and actually just a little bit of ‘letting go’!  This type of photography can take a lot of patience and time, sometimes you can get bogged down with trying to come up with something absolutely perfect and memorable and that’s when (of course) it just never happens. This was at the end of a long afternoon of experimenting and in the end I just opened the shutter, stepped out in front of the lens and lit a sparkler (facing away from the camera), turned around and went berserk.

When the sparkler went out I grabbed a torch I had at the ready, used a technique called “light painting” (if you haven’t come across it, google it, fascinating stuff!), where you essentially “paint in” the walls with light.
This requires a very dark location, any light at all will be picked up by the lens but if you keep moving.  Your own body and movements don’t show up in the picture because you are too dark for the lens to see.  It’s important to use ISO 100 too, not a higher setting like usual for low light situations.

Basically it was an art piece of sorts, done in 95 seconds at the location plus a bit of processing 🙂  I called it “Circus Berzerkus” after an Arctic Monkeys song.

Did you edit this image, if so what did you do and with what program?
I used Adobe Lightroom to edit – my favourite because it is not difficult to experiment with but has a lot of features.  I increased the “clarity” a bit, and the contrast, then took out some of the yellow from the sparkler to get more of the grungy effect I was after.

Do you have any advice for our community of photographers?

Just keep shooting! I have learned more from taking thousands and thousands of photos than I have from any other means and lots of them are complete disasters, lol.  I also love connecting with other photographers of all experiences and levels because everyone has something to teach!

Where was this photo taken?
This photo was taken inside a storm water drain near the South Coast of Victoria, I won’t say where because I don’t want anyone going underground in a dangerous drain without proper safety precautions and a knowledgeable guide.  They can be very, very dangerous places, but the same effect can be achieved in a cave, or cellar too.  Lack of unwanted light is the key, and a room with the curtains closed is probably not going to work as well.  If you want to learn more about it, check out “light painting” on art sites like (gratuitous plug for my page there ), find others who are experienced at it, make friends and learn!

Thanks so much to Camera House judging team for picking my photo, it has absolutely made my week and I now have a new piece of equipment to learn how to use! Also I’d love to give a “shout out” to Albury Camera House who are the nearest store to us here in Yackandandah and have an amazingly helpful and friendly staff who also gave me a fantastic deal on a new tripod the other week and even put it all together for me 🙂

Click here to get involved in the Camera House Photo Friday competition!

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