Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Scripted Shots

In the past, other than for the family snapshot, I have never 'set up' or scripted a photograph. Lots of photographers do, but since my main focus has been nature photography there is generally not much opportunity to do so. However, my recent experimentation with a zone plate has me trying new things that I haven't done before.

I was using the zone plate at one of my favorite parks, but didn't seem able to really capture anything that had what I considered a 'special feel' to it. I realized that the zone plate images that I felt were my most successful ones to this point contained human figures in them. Being alone, I decided it was time for me to 'star' in my own photograph. There was a covered bridge that was dark inside with bright sunlight at the other end. Melting ice had generated puddles of water inside. I previsualized an ethereal type of image with bright light behind a figure that seemed to emerge from the 'ether'.

The only way to do this was with the 10 second self-timer on my camera. It was quite cold out and the covered bridge is in a relatively out of the way park.......but it still was a road and every 10 or 15 minutes or so a car would come down the curvy two lane street (at low speed by necessity, given the type of road it was).

So imagine this bizarre and rather funny scenario. I set my tripod and camera up at one end of the covered bridge, check to make sure there are no cars coming (you can see a good way down the road), hit the self timer, run as fast as possible down towards the other end of the covered bridge while counting off the seconds, turn around, pose for the shot, and run back as fast as possible to ensure that no cars are on the way to demolish the camera and tripod.

For those concerned that I posed a danger, I should add that I would never do this on a 'real' road. This was a very low speed curvy road where people stop before going onto the bridge because it is dark inside. In addition, one can see a good distance down the road in both directions. The entire process could be completed before any visible car could possibly make it to the bridge. No one was in danger, save my camera. And even that was more likely to be toppled by my rushing around running back and forth than by anything else.

And the results (after innumerable tries to get it right)..........

Copyright Howard Grill