Let’s get this show on the road

Since it’s a new year, now seems as good a time as any to start off this site. This is going to be my new home, and I will be discussing (hopefully regularly) some bits of programming, linux hackery and general nerdiness as I come across it. I also plan to upload my photos here. At the moment this site is running off a wordpress install, but this is intended to be temporary, and I’m hoping to move onto a Django based site in the future.

Photo52

To encourage me to take more photographs, and give a little direction, I’ve been nudged into taking part in Talk Photography’s Photo52 Challenge, where a new topic is drawn each week and “contestants” asked to take a photo to represent that topic. New topics are drawn on a Sunday, so pop in here every Monday for the next year(!) and you should see a new entry. I’ll be providing a little description for each one, including details of the set-up (if any) and perhaps a rationale. This is the first.

Stack of CDs in a spindle, where the colours of the casing are visible
Accommodation - Photo52 Week 1

Accommodation

This subject originally frustrated me, since I was hoping to avoid simply taking a photo of my house or my room, but I wasn’t succeeding in finding a suitable alternative. Since it’s the first week, I decided to look on the Talk Photography forums for a little inspiration, and found James 306’s novel interpretation. Now I looked frantically around me, searching for any kind of casing or housing. I eventually settled on a spindle of CDs, since I would be able to apply a little science to create a novel photograph.

Photo showing equipment setup for shooting "Accommodation"
Equipment setup. From back to front: LCD monitor, subject (perched on a tub of cookies), camera with polarising filter

The effect you see here is real, not photoshopped, and achieved through polarisation. Clear plastic tends to produce strange colours when you shine polarised light through it, and this can be seen easily on a photograph. The set up here was setting up the spindle in front of my computer monitor, which was showing a blank white screen. LCD panels produce polarised light, which is exactly what I needed. The camera was set up facing the monitor, and fitted with a polariser filter. By tweaking the polariser’s angle, it’s possible to cancel out the monitor light to a near-black, and by underexposing a little I achieved a perfect black background. The light that moves through the spindle casing and CDs themselves is reoriented, and therefore becomes visible, with bright colours as a side-effect.

I do feel guilty for perhaps taking too much liberty with the given title, but in retrospect this was a lot of fun. Looking at the photo now, it also invokes some idea of sky-rise architecture, so maybe this angle wasn’t so crazy after all.

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