The two 60km/h signs in the photo are found when you drive north over the Story Bridge, on the edge of the Brisbane CBD, and take the Fortitude Valley exit. The road heads down past the signs and sweeps to the right and under the road heading in the opposite direction.
Like I've said before, circles are dominant shapes and I liked the symmetry of the two round signs opposite each other. I knew they lit up at night and thought they would look good at dusk, when there was still enough light on the surrounding landscape so that it just showed up in the photo - but the signs were very much the dominant aspect of the photo.
With that in mind, I fetched my tripod and made my way there late one afternoon.
I set myself up and took a few shots of the signs on their own and a few wider shots of the signs with a bit of peripheral landscape in shot. Cars were constantly driving down the road and past the signs and this looked quite good, the bright red of their tail lights piercing the dark blue light of dusk as they braked to take the bend just past the signs. A slow shutter speeds would blur them sufficiently as a contrast to the sharp (in focus) 60km/h road signs.
The only problem was that cars were also driving past me in the other direction (from the road passing above the signs) at a steady rate. This really pissed me off because every time a car drove down through the signs where I wanted it to be, traffic would inevitably pour past me in the other direction and get in the way of the photo I was wanting to achieve.
I managed to get a few okay shots but was a bit nonplussed by it all. I knew it would look good if it all went to plan but it just wasn't working for me. Plus I was losing what light I had to work with. Anyway, it was around dinner time and I had to be somewhere...in front of the TV with a plate on my lap! It wasn't like I had to get something that night and I could always come back. I fired off a few more frames for the hell of it and packed up.
The following day I downloaded the photos and had a look through what I'd taken. None of it grabbed me until I half stumbled across the photo you see before you.
The panoramas I take are shot on a 35mm digital SLR (Nikon D5000), so I envisage the panorama crop within the whole of the 35mm frame (I've become good at cropping photos in my head). Sometimes I'm looking for one thing when I see another within the frame and often times I don't notice something because of all the extraneous information within the 35mm frame. This was one of those occasions.
As I was going through the images I saw this photo had in it one of 'those' cars that was pissing me off by driving in front of me when I was trying to get the photo I was really wanting. As a result, I didn't take any notice of it because it wasn't what I was looking for.
I went through all the frames and, from the comfort of where I was, wondered if I could really be arsed going and re-shooting it if I had to. The answer was leaning toward 'no' so I had another, slower, look at all the photos I'd taken. Maybe there was one in there I could live with...
I methodically went through each shot again - 33 frames in total. As I got to around frame 30 I started to think 'reshoot' and my mind began wandering. I got to this frame and was about to his the 'next' button when, through my glazed eyes, I noticed the blur of the car's headlights and the fact the 60km/h sign was disfigured through the car's back window. I cropped the photo in my head and thought, 'that looks interesting...'.
I opened the file in Photoshop, cropped it for real and, 'hey presto', I had my shot. It was totally unexpected but I was going to take it nonetheless!
While it wasn't what I was wanting, the effect of the 'stop-pissing-me-off' car - blurred headlights and distorted 60km/h sign - had worked wonders. What made it even more amazing was that as the light dropped I had started using a 5 second shutter delay so there was no camera movement on the tripod, and the car in the photo was, in effect, captured by chance.
To see more photos like this, go to www.giuliophotography.com.au
Gear used - tripod, Nikon D5000, 80-200mm f2.8 lens, 1/20 sec f5.6