Living the Pipe Dream!

By Dirk Fletcher, Department Chairman of the Photography Programs


A couple weeks ago the students in my Modern Alternative Practices class tested a photo technique that we have been wanting to try for some time.  The goal is to (safely) create an image of a car that appears to be screaming through the screen.

The technique we used is pretty straight forward, we mounted the camera to an arm or boom and then using large Manfrotto suction cup mounts we positioned the boom with the camera hanging 6-8 feet away from the car.  Then contrary to what most people think, we gently rolled the car without the engine running.  This kept the vibrations down to a minimum and allowed us to vary the amount of blur by simply adjusting the shutter speed.  This let us control the amount of ‘speed’ the final image had.



We found exposures between 3 and 6 seconds to be the most effective in creating the most realistic looking background blurs. One thing that sped up the testing process was the use of the new Canon 6D with its diminutive size and Wi-Fi link it is perfectly suited for this task.  By establishing a connection between my iPad and the camera, we controlled all the aspects of the camera remotely while viewing the results instantly on the iPad.  While rolling the BMW down the garage ramp we made several adjustments to the shutter speed until we got the blur just where we wanted it.



Ironically, if there is too much blur the image looses a good deal of realism and looks overly Photoshop-ed.   Speaking of Photoshop, it is fantastic having Photoshop Artist and professional retoucher Tim Arroyo on faculty.

Once we got the images where we liked them, we turned the files over to Tim who removed the pipework and did some clean up and color correction on the images.

If you are interested in seeing the final result, stop by Harrington during the month of August to see some amazing 40×60 inch prints of these images on display in the Barbara Marks Gallery.

_AM12443You can also follow the class and other projects here:
All photos ©2013 Dirk Fletcher