At the weekend I took another trip to a disused train tunnel in East London. It was my third trip there, and my third attempt at light play such as spinning steel wool.
I certainly find locations easier to shoot when I have been there before. My first trip to a new UrbEx location usually has me being a little cautious. I tread in the common places, don’t wish to disturb anything, always listening and watching for others, and so on. However, if I go to a location more than once it becomes a little bit more comfortable and I can think more about the photography than about the event allowing for better composition. Of course, practising something and knowing from having seen the images from previous attempts on the PC always help you to improve on things, so I guess as well as being more comfortable I have a better idea, also, of the type of shot I wish to nail.
So, the first trip into this tunnel was a steelwoolfest as it was our first attempt at spinning. We were caught up in the occasion, and the sparks made us giggle like school girls holding sparklers. It took us a packet of wool to realise a roll could last around 3 spins rather than using a whole roll at once. It took a little longer to realise shorter exposures are better than fitting everything into one long exposure.
On the second trip to the tunnel I was with another friend and we concentrated more on light painting than on spinning wool – especially as the wool wasn’t burning very well that day and the wind coming through the tunnel pretty much blew my lighter out on each attempt.
This third trip, however, was pretty cool. We played with a little light painting, and our spinning seemed to be a lot better. I was able to make circles better than the other attempts (I put this down to the dog leash being used instead of a piece of rope which had been cutting through my fingers previously). We also decided not to stand in just one spot which made a big difference to the visuals also.
Of course with complacency comes danger, and I have a nice burn hole in one of the garments I was wearing due to an over enthusiastic attempt to change the spinning direction mid rotation. I must remember my ‘safety first’ motto in future.
The image above was taken over a 41 second exposure; the first 15-20 seconds or so were spent lighting up the tunnel, not that you can really tell due to the sparkage (though you can just see the train track at the bottom right), and the rest of the time was my lighting the wool and walking towards the camera in the dark whilst spinning it.
It sure was fun to create!