Frosted Mugs & Footlongs

We have arrived safely back in town after spending a week in Douglas, Michigan during the biggest heat wave in thirty years. I can still hear the drone of the many electric fans we had running day and night. As always we had great food and great fun but at times the heat took a toll on our patience if not our tempers. Such is life in a big family of strong personalities. We can survive most anything together so all is well in the end.

I’ve passed this old barrel structure quite a few times before without ever stopping to photograph it. I noticed a couple of painters working on it last Saturday and stopped to talk to them. They told me about plans to restore the barrel and move it to a new location. The painters also told me there was an information booth about the barrel restoration in front of the library on Center Street, so I went over there and talked to the volunteers about barrels, woodworking and other roadside attractions.

I knew before going that I wanted to take a night shot of the barrel using some sort of light painting. I talked James into going with me to photograph the barrel because it’s always nice to have a big imposing figure with you while lurking around in the dark. He was quite helpful and painted the interior of the barrel for me following my direction. My first test image was a noisy five minute  exposure but pretty instructive. I lowered my ISO and reset the aperture. The next exposure was better so we continued at five minute intervals trying different lighting techniques on each round. In this image I left a couple of exposures out to create gaps in the star trails. Longer exposures tend to create noise in digital images so the idea is to take several images and then stack them together and blend the exposures to form a single image and in turn reduce the noise and stuck pixels. Needless to say, it’s a time consuming process that must be practiced to achieve the best results. You also need some sort of remote release for your camera to avoid any movement. It probably would have been a good idea to lock the mirror up to avoid any vibration at the beginning of the exposure.