Studies In Organic Motion

2019,‪ 5,184 x 3,456‬, Digital Photograph


A Study in snow fall and wind change, through digital manipulation.
One of the great and signifying qualities of film is its use of time as a medium. To effectively utilize this, one must consider how things change and evolve. Organic motion is one of the most intriguing facets of time, for it is completely outside of human control and never stops changing. For an experimental test of capturing  organic motion over time, I chose to document the turbulent movement of snowfall.
Experiment Proposal
With the many changing factors of nature  (ie. wind, light, weather) snowfall seemed to be a perfect thing to document over time through film. To execute this experiment I planned to go outside during a snowy night in the Wisconsin winter. By placing three large tube lights facing at at 75 degree angle, towards the sky and behind the snow I was planning to record,  I would be able to make the falling snow stand out against the dark night sky. Once the scene was set up, I would adjust the camera I was shooting with (Canon EOS 1300D) to be perpendicular to the lights. It would be of utmost importance to aim the camera away from the lights just enough so no flare would occur, yet still allowing the snow to be backlit. By taking a 2 long exposure photographs (Ranging from 1/30 s to 5” s)  each utilizing only one color channel (Red or Blue) I would be able to capture the movement of the elements through a variety of colored streaks. This would illustrate not only the path of a single snowflakes travel down to earth, but the different colors would show how the entirety of the snow fall would change based on wind and natural factors. In the editing room, I would then do some light color grading to allow the different channels to stand out a little more clearly, and overlay the photographs on a contrasting color (Yellow). The film would then consist of different frames of these images to create an abstract visual of twisting colored streaks of an organic nature.
Experiment Results/Write-up
Once I conducted the experimental tests in real life many challenges occurred I did not anticipate. First, and a very neglectful mistake, I did not account for snowfall landing and getting the equipment I was using wet. To save the equipment I recorded the images from the edge of a patio overhang to keep things dry but still be within the snowstorm. Also lighting the snow became very difficult because of its changing direction. Every few minutes the wind would change courses and the snow would not be lit the way I needed it to be. Aside from the negatives the results of the test photos were very fulfilling, despite looking nothing like I imagined. Rather than straight beams of light, the frames turned out to look more like an impressionistic splatter painting than anything else. I am very happy with images but my initial idea of having the images in a fast succession needs to be altered. When they are put together in film they strobe rather than morph, so more work needs to be put into the final experiment as of the time of the midterm submission. Over all I feel as though the single frames did exactly what I was intending to do. They make a very unique visual and they document the path of organic motion very thoroughly.
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