Ghosts

Hope all of you are OK as you are reading this. I was originally going to publish this post way back in late winter when this shot was taken, but held off. As part of my routine workflow, I usually load pictures into my WordPress editor in bulk (over a weekend) and create dozens of draft posts (one for each picture), then cull them one by one and give them working titles, just to remind myself of what I was thinking about writing at that time, so when I finally get around writing the post weeks or months later, the hope is the title will spark a reminder in my hazy memory. Of course it hardly ever works!

This shot was me playing around with slow exposure (sometimes more than a second long) and invoking creative motion blur. It all depends on what ISO and Aperture you are obviously using, but if you want a decent creative motion blur of a person walking by at a normal speed and about 10 feet away, you are looking at 1/15th of a second or slower. My favorite is around 1/10th. This shutter speed and blur effect dramatically depends on your distance from your subject, the closer they are, the more blur you get with the same shutter speed.

What was fascinating to me? The fact that it doesn’t take much to make people disappear! I always adored those YouTube tutorials of photographers, touting their multi-thousand 5D Mark III, heavy L-glass, donning on 10-stop ND filters, closing down the aperture, setting their DSLR on a tripod and doing a multi-minute exposure of a busy street in mid-day. Not a soul in the final shot. Just freakishly barren streets. You can almost hear their silence…

As it turns out, you don’t need an ND filter, or a tripod, or 3 pounds of gear, worth as many thousands of cash. Save a buck and instead prop the camera you already have against a street lamp, on top of a fence or a window ledge, trash can, and let it rip…
When you are patient enough and find a person who is not moving, while the passers by are, you get crazy ghost effects.

Sadly, this photo is probably not far from how Chicago streets look these days. Barren, deserted, quiet, depressing ghost town. I wouldn’t know. Haven’t been allowed to go there for nearly 3 weeks now and will likely take several months, before my work re-opens its doors. While working from home, now I’m starting to re-learn the wonders of home-photography, which really tests one’c creativity. Back soon…

Stay safe, everyone!

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