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Music in motion and stillness | by Terriko
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Music in motion and stillness

Taken for AAW: Still and Moving


As a musician, I'm often told to remember that the silences and stillness are as important to a piece as the notes, so when I saw the "Still and moving" assignment I immediately thought of music.


It's hard to show sound in a photo, but it is a little possible with a stringed instrument because you can see the moving strings that produce the sound. In this case, the four right most or lowest strings are being plucked, while the two upper strings remain (mostly) still.


What it took:

Guitar on my lap (played more dobro-style) so I could better manage the lighting and reach the camera shutter without risk of the instrument slipping. I pointed a small warm light at my fingers to get some shine and enough light to brighten the strings so you'd be able to see the motion. Then put the camera on a tripod and set the aperture to 1.4 for soft bokeh around the edges and to amplify any motion of the strings. I think I used the timer for this shot, although I experimented with the remote and with operating the camera directly. I chose a 1/10 exposure so that you'd see the motion blur on the things I was intentionally moving and hopefully not the guitar body (or camera when I was hitting the shutter directly). I tried first with just the strings moving, but it wasn't sufficiently obvious what was going on unless you knew what to look for, and I wanted a picture that was more clear and hopefully satisfying to non-musicians!


All the fiddling happened before the photo was taken, so this is straight out of camera (well, converted to jpg, but close enough)


Another photo idea that didn't make it:

I thought it would have been nice to set up the photo so that you could see the still fingers holding a chord on the neck of the guitar and the moving fingers doing fingerpicking. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure I could manage the lighting and camera without a helper on that one, so I decided to go with the simpler shot. Perhaps another day!

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Taken on September 17, 2012