To set the scene: mid-October; hotel room; somewhere in Montana; 3:35 AM; lying in bed awake; can’t get back to sleep….what to do, what to do?
As my mind wandered, my eyes took in the dark room. It really wasn’t totally dark, since I always leave the room darkening shades open in hotels. Arrayed across the large window which overlooked a well-lit patio were loosely gathered semi-sheer curtains. After glancing out the window from the comfort of my bed, my eyes were suddenly attracted to the ceiling above me. The intense light coming from the moon & outdoor illumination was beaming through the window and casting fascinating patterns on the ceiling. It looked as if the curtains had been projected directly onto the ceiling in some magical way. Every fold and gather clearly visible.
Within minutes I had grabbed my trusty iPhone and started framing shots of the ceiling area. It was dark, but not so dark that the camera couldn’t focus or would need the flash. Of course, according to the message on the camera screen, I would need to hold the phone steady for 5 seconds in order to make an exposure. So, still lying in bed, I took photo after photo, frequently changing the direction and angle of the phone. This pursuit entertained me for about 30 minutes, and allowed me to settle down and drift off to sleep once again.
The resulting images are rather mysterious and ethereal abstracts in some respects, somehow not appearing to be photos at all. Some have considerable noise, which I think adds a wonderful texture, and some have colors that I couldn’t see at the time. The only adjustments made in post were reorienting some images by turning; adding a bit of contrast; and in one case, cropping a bit. More or less, they are straight-out-of-camera.
iPhone 13 Pro, handheld 5 second exposures, serendipity.
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