Night photography: Anchored to the claw

Anchored to the claw -- by Joe Reifer

Anchored to the claw — by Joe Reifer

This night image from Paul’s Junkyard was taken by placing the tripod in front of the driver’s seat of the large metal cutting machine seen in this car-crushing video. The high camera position makes the car look as if it’s dangling just off the ground. 20-30 mph winds shook the whole machine from side-to-side during the 5 minute exposure. The results resemble trying to shoot a slow exposure from a ship using a tripod — anything on the ship would be in focus, and everything else would be blurry. In this case, the arm holding the crushed Volvo wagon is reasonably sharp because it’s swaying at about the same rate as the camera. Below is a section of sky to show the star trails — you can see when there were gusts of wind. Sometimes an unconventional camera position can make for interesting results. Many thanks to eyetwist for the fill lighting, as I was doing origami with my legs and tripod in a confined space during the shot.

Anchored to the claw (star trails detail)


7 thoughts on “Night photography: Anchored to the claw”

  1. Joe: I got a similar shot from a ship (to be shown at our upcoming show – hope you can make it!). The stars were squiggly, but the ship was relatively sharp (though I slightly screwed up on focusing, because of the LF rig’s low tolerance for error in focusing). Looks great as a print – I just got it last night.

  2. interesting post!

    I think the photo would great as a vertical (yeys, I do remember you’re not a vertical fan). Cropping out the left would make the photo nice and clean – and the jaw would be leading into the picture.

    1. Cropping to vertical would simplify the photo graphically – there are enough pixels, but it’s just not my style. I like the context of what surrounds the subject/camera.

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