The chaos of the storm
There’s a certain shift in the energy of the city when it rains, more so when there is a heavy storm.
Umbrellas go up as people jostle for a dry position under any available shelter while others take their chances and dash across puddle filled roads. As day becomes night the scene is set against a backdrop of colourful reflections of light emanating from the dark wet pavement as people make their way home during the peak hour crush. There’s a frenetic energy in the way people act in the rain which can be hard to capture within a single frame.
Recently I have been exploring experimental ways of capturing the energy and feeling of the city. In a previous blog post I created a series of images of people interacting with light installations which led to me thinking about how I could adapt an experimental approach to street photography to convey the frenetic energy I witness when shooting in the rain.
More often than not I shoot a small burst when trying to capture moving subjects and then select the frame with the best composition or pose but then I began to wonder what it would look like if I combined all the images of that burst into one frame. I also liked the idea of incorporating all the additional frames I had taken that would never normally see the light of day.
My first instinct was to combine everything using Photoshop but there was something that didn’t feel right with that process, it seemed a little too perfect and easy and not achieving the look I had in my mind. I really wanted to create a photo in camera rather than a Photoshop composite.
Thinking along those lines, I set my camera on a tripod, framed up my computer screen and put my photos into slideshow mode to see what a photo of my photo would look like. As soon as the photo appeared on the back of the camera I knew this was how I was going to achieve the feeling I was looking for. The image was slightly blurry with a glow that created an almost dreamlike quality. I then began to build the layers within the camera. To do this I set my shutter speed to 5 seconds and within that time I manually tapped through the burst of images which created a multiple exposure effect.
This process created a number of imperfections which really helped create that spontaneous feeling I had in my mind. The way the camera captured the light of the computer, the additional line screen textures and the length of time it took for me to tap through the frames all resulted in creating a totally unique, brand new image. The first burst was an instant success and as such I dived into my archive to find more sets to use.
Overall I’m pretty happy with the results and I have found exploring alternative techniques to image making have helped me break out of a rut by thinking about photography in different ways.
To summarise, my setup and settings:
Canon 5D Mkiv + Canon 50mm f1.2 lens
5 seconds, f16, ISO 200
So let me know what you think and as always you can find more of my work on Instagram.