The last time I was at Spencer Gorge Wilderness Area, it was a surprisingly warm day in the middle of winter. I took my motorcycle and Tsuru no Yakata’s Horo figure there for some photos. People thought I was a bit nuts riding my sport bike in the winter, but hey it was 11°C! Kind of similar this time around, except it was much warmer, not winter, and I spent hours there capturing sunset. Oh and there were leaves on the trees! I guess the only similar bit was I brought Horo again (and Alice) and rode a motorcycle.
One of the aspects of doll photography that never seems to get old for me are the reactions of people who see me doing it and approach me. It’s almost always one of two options, either I must be a student and this must be an art project, or I must be a professional. Sometimes however people ‘get it’ and say pretty much exactly what it is I’m doing. “Do you take photos of them on your travels?” Those people are my favourite because you don’t have to explain anything about what you’re doing or the dolls themselves. You can just have a conversation about travelling, the places you go, the places they go, and if they’re actually interested, the dolls as well. But sometimes it’s just fun to play the professional photographer and make someones day (or many peoples).
While taking the photos for the time lapse below I had a lot of time to talk with people as they came by and use their cameras and phones to take photos of them and their wife/girlfriend/kids/friends. People really seemed to get a kick out of this, because “the professional” took their photo for them and there fore it must be more amazing than had any other person there taken it. A couple of times people with Nikons and poorly chosen lenses asked me to take their photo, so I offered up one of my lenses instead which worked out well. Not that my lenses were particularly good, but were better suited to the type of shot they were going for. And so while they were there they’d shoot with my lens then return it when they were leaving the little area I was at.
I think part of this reaction on my part goes back to a couple of times in the past when photographers have done nice things for me. One such example; I was at a car race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in… Ohio, I was using a rented 80-200 mm lens to take photos of the cars with my Nikon D100 and a guy walked up to me with a huge like f/4 600 mm lens and taps me on the shoulder and asks me if I want to use it. Didn’t introduce himself, didn’t ask my name, no information about each other was shared, but he just handed me the lens and the monopod he’d mounted it to. He then proceeded to show me how best to use the monopod and how to get the best shot I could out of the lens. All at complete random. At the time I couldn’t get over the trust he’d shown me, he handed me a $10,000 lens when clearly my kit was worth at best 1/5th of that total and only because of the rented lens. So now I try and do the same, though I do it with lenses priced in the hundreds of dollars rather than thousands, it’s nice to make someone’s day, or at least that moment.
Unfortunately through all that talking and helping I didn’t take into account a couple things to make my time lapse better, but I think for a 3rd attempt at a time lapse (First, Second) and second at a sunset time lapse (the “holy grail”) it’s pretty good and I’m pretty happy with it. Thankfully this time there was almost no wind as well, as I’d placed Horo and Alice precariously on the edge of a cliff that was a major worry. I tried to place them away from where most people would want to take photos so that I didn’t ruin their shots for hours, because this was honestly the busiest I’d ever seen a park I didn’t want to ruin that. More so because a lot of them were either foreign or immigrants and looked to be enjoying what Canada had to offer. Very few of them seemed to be Canadians born in Canada, which I found a bit interesting. As though born Canadians are bored or lazy with their own country, a little bit sad.
I don’t have a good photo showing how precarious Alice and Horo were placed, as I couldn’t really float off in front of them. But between the combinations of photos you’ll probably be able to piece it together. I’d certainly have trouble retrieving them if they’d fallen off the cliff. But they had to be there because that was the scenic shot.
There are few times where I desire having a second camera body and time lapses are one of those. Here I am, sitting in a gorgeous spot and my camera is snapping away at the same thing 944 times. It would have been nice to get around and take some photos of the scenery and maybe get some different shots of Horo and Alice. But I was locked in because this is what I went there to do in the first place, a time lapse. This was made slightly worse as other people would walk up and try and sneak a photo of Horo and Alice, I guess trying not to disturb me. I’d invite them in when I noticed them to take as many photos as they wanted so long as they didn’t enter the frame of my shot which I outlined in the air for them. For some people this startled them and they wouldn’t take another photo of the dolls, for others they were happy to be invited in to snap a couple shots. I would be neat to find some of those photos online somewhere someday. But all of this kind of rubbed it in that I couldn’t take any other angles, sure I had my Nexus4, but it has such a pathetic camera it’s not worth using unless I have to, so I didn’t bother.
I’d arrived at the park around 16:30 and it was 19:00 by the time I started to pack up the girls and camera gear and was definitely starting to get dark as sunset was at 18:45 that day. Which would mean walking back through the forest in the dark. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to see well enough and would trip constantly or hurt myself as I didn’t bring a flashlight (doh!), but I have decent night vision and was able to see my way out. Then it was a nice cool ride home in the dark on the motorcycle, still reasonably warm and everything.
Here we are at the end of my post and I’ve yet to even show what I spent all that time doing. I haven’t forgotten about the time lapse, but it just didn’t seem to fit well amongst all those paragraphs. Well without further ado, here it is.
It’s a bit amusing that I complain how much Ontario sucks, yet it still has wonderful places to go. Perhaps as a born Canadian I share a certain boredom with my home province and don’t enjoy as much of it as I should, and shouldn’t judge those who grew up here against those who are seeing it all for the first time.
Can’t for the life of me get rid of that cyan band through the sky. Stupid me and over exposing most of the sky…