Thursday, May 03, 2012

The Sign From Arby’s At Night In The Rain







Electrical wires stretched across the night
don’t glow but the things the wires connect to
shine even illuminate rain at night
and raindrops glitter around the dark wires
so there’s the night with its one kind of dark
and the wires are another kind of dark
and raindrops glitter as one kind of light
and streetlights shine more brightly than raindrops
so streetlights are another kind of light
but the Arby’s sign from a block away
that sticks up above a nearby rooftop
is so bright that against both kinds of dark
surrounded by two other kinds of light
it not only shines but shines in color.

The sign from Arby’s at night in the rain
I bet if you asked them makes the wires proud.







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This was a fun picture to create.

This photo is more processed than I normally like, but it seems to fit the writing.

Here’s how I created this image.

First, I tried doing a simple point-and-shoot operation with my camera. But the auto-exposure tried to set the shutter for something like three or four seconds. I didn’t want to grab a tripod, so I dialed into shutter-priority mode and set the shutter for something like 1/20 of a second, which is about as slow as I can hand-hold and trust myself to keep a reasonably steady picture. And even that required a couple of tries to get it steady.

Once I had a reasonably steady image, I went into Microsoft Office Picture Manager and adjusted the mid-tones to get the best view of the rain that I could. Then I tried to color-correct a little to get the sign the proper shade of red (the streetlights warm things up, making the red too orange) but I never really got the sign the correct shade of Arby’s red.

Then I had an image that was more or less okay, but I didn’t really like it. Nothing seemed to be happening, visually. So I grabbed the ‘zoom’ knob and enlarged the whole image until the pixels became abstract artifacts. From there, I slowly zoomed back down until the pixels were still artifacts, but right on the edge of being unresolved.

Then I cut out this composition from the larger scene using screen-grab software.

So, reduced for the blog the pixels are right on the edge between being pixels and being artifacts, and the photograph to me has a ‘look’ that is something like a pastel drawing or a colored pencil drawing.

When I create a photograph like this I just sigh, because I can do something like this much faster than I could draw such a scene, and this looks—I’m pretty sure—a lot better than I could do drawing.

And watercolors are beautiful, but I don’t think that I have enough experience painting to use watercolors to create a scene that is both realistic and artificial at the same time.

I don’t know how I’m ever going to resolve my affection for photography and my desire to get better at drawing and painting.



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Thin Lines Spread Out Into A Grid
























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