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Artistic Excursion

Hmm... I've not written a single brief for any of my classes this weekend (though I've done all the reading), I've got a legal writing assignment and a civil procedure complaint due in the next four days, and every one of my outlines need revising. So what did I spend midnight last night doing? That's right, shutterbugging.

I'm not entirely happy with how everything turned out: my ambitions would probably require a digital SLR, whereas my budget extends to an HP Photosmart 812. Because of the misty rain last night, flash was a non-starter, so many of the images are underexposed or blurry. Still, out of about three dozen shots, I got a few not burdened with shame. I'll give you one taste before the cut, and then you can click on the link below if you'd like to see more.

(Click on any image to see a larger version in a new window.)

Probably the best shot of the evening, the outside of the law school. This hasn't been retouched or photoshopped at all, although it looks like it would fit in well in a collage.

As I said, I couldn't use flash, so the things which came out best were things that were brightly lit or backlit. Anything else relied upon me keeping my hands steady for up to a minute while the camera struggled with low light conditions. The spiral staircase in the Lerner came out well, though I'd like to try this shot on a non-rainy night.

The statue of Bellepheron taming the Pegasus outside the law school.

The best shot I got of the main library. I'm not sure if I can call this 'artistically blurry' or not. I wanted to capture the feeling of the mist that was drifting across campus, but it didn't come out quite like I'd expected. However, you'd be surprised how well a few filters and some slight touchup work makes this look like a watercolor.

And now for the more outrageous pictures. First, there's the ones that are clearly a mistake. In the shot below I was struggling to get the effect of the lights from traffic backlighting students walking across the quad from the lawschool. I wish I'd had my SLR with me, because the shadows were wonderful and dramatic. Unfortunately, the lack of light meter on my Photosmart meant this image took two minutes to finish, during which time my arm gave out. You can see the rather amateurish effect.

And lastly, a photo I call 'The Unblinking Eye.' There's this wonderfully silly modern art statue in the quad outside the law school, which looks like an eye on a stalk. However, if you look through the 'eye' at night, and you're at just the right height, you can see the lights of Amsterdam Avenue through it. I'd hoped to capture it in some form of realism, but again the lack of light-meter was killing me. (Passer-by must have thought me a fool, sitting there trying not to fall off a ledge and holding a camera at a just right angle.)

Most of the pictures came out a mess. By the time the camera had finished taking the picture, the stoplights had normally cycled green-to-red, completely confusing my poor Photosmart. I finally figured out that if I started the picture just as the light turned red, it would get done just before the lights turned green again. Anyway, this one came out strange but not entirely unattractive. It's not been photoshopped at all, believe it or not. Check out the larger image: you can actually see the stoplights.

I'll have to try this again on a clear night. The beauty of the campus at midnight doesn't rival Oxford in the mist, but it holds its own addictions for sophmoric photographers.


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