#blackandwhitephotography

i went for another long-ish drive with the raspberry pi noir camera v2 a couple days ago. instead of west to the beach (like the day before), i went east to the country (and through the city). this drive wasn’t as relaxing, perhaps as there were more people on the road and as i was paying more attention to driving a particular route (with a number of specific turns) slowly so i could make it back home (with the small battery) without stopping at a public charger (and without running the battery too low). i’m not sure if i went any faster than 45 mph the whole way, and most of the time was slower than that (as i tried to take roads with slower speed limits, multiple lanes, or rural roads with little to no traffic). i was able to average 6.8 mi/kWh the whole 102.3 miles (the equivalent of 147 Wh/mi or 229 MPGe, about twice as good as my car’s EPA rating).. looking quickly at my notes (which are missing lots of data), that appears to be the highest efficiency i’ve gotten on a long drive. when i made it to some of the rural parts that i had never been to before, i discovered a very nice, quiet, peaceful area, which was a pleasant surprise.

this was shot with the same settings as the one the day before: 1/128 shutter speed @ iso 60 with custom white balance (and lee 87c visible light blocking / infrared pass filter), at an interval of one shot every 3 seconds (and the video rendered at 10 fps). to try to compensate for the strange glare i was getting from the filter, i added a long extension rod to the suction cup mount that was on the windshield.. the camera was able to sit further back into the car to reduce its direct exposure to sunlight. this helped some, though it still had some sun hitting it (depending on the direction the car was going) and the whole camera was bouncing up and down the whole time (due to the additional leverage of the long rod it was mounted on). i was wondering if i was going to get anything useful out of it or if the suction cup was going to fall off during the drive.. fortunately the camera movement isn’t too noticeable in the time-lapse (perhaps the rate of movement was somewhat aligned with the interval the shots were taken, and/or the time-lapse playing back at a slow stop-motion-like frame rate of 10 fps effectively helps reduce the visibility of the constant bouncing of the camera), and it held the whole time (just under 4 hours). i was also wondering if there would be motion blur as the shutter speed wasn’t super fast.. looking closely at the individual images, they aren’t as sharp as they could be, but again, being played back in a time-lapse video like this hides the imperfections.

again, this is by no means a perfect video.. i think next time i’m going to see if i can mount the camera behind the tint at the top of the windshield (to see if that works to block the glare from sunlight hitting the filter directly). i’ll also be doing a future time-lapse with an interval of 1 second (and more jpeg compression or lower resolution so the (non high speed) sd card can keep up) to make the time-lapse video appear more smooth. i forgot to mention in the previous video notes that there is a part of the image area that is not in focus like the majority of the image (seemingly due to imperfect alignment of the lens to the sensor), and i’ve attempted to hide this by placing the camera upside down (so the lower + left area(s) of the image are the ones that are less sharp).

 

it was a very nice, relaxing drive, especially once i got to the beach, which had little traffic. the cooler temperature, mostly empty beach islands, and peaceful feeling in the air were quite beautiful and serene. the drive through the beach islands felt like i was in another part of florida (or the country) with quiet, remote, empty beach towns. there was also less pollution which was very nice to be able to breathe in the fresh air more easily (when i wasn’t by gas or diesel vehicles).. when going over the bayside bridge, i looked out the left window, and the tampa skyline (15 miles away) appeared more clear & crisp than i had ever seen it before.

also, knowing that the camera was running automatically let me relax and just focus on the present moment, rather than needing to also concentrate on photographing what i saw during the drive (and i wasn’t able to connect back to it via wifi for some reason a little bit into the drive, so just forgot about double checking that it was still running and the images were looking good). i recall a similar thought or feeling over a decade ago, when i set up long term time-lapses / webcams to photograph the nice view from a high rise apartment i lived in for a year. it was nice to know that the photography was happening automatically and i could spend my time and energy just being present. some automation is nice so one can relax into the presence and be more in the awe & beauty of the moment, fully embracing the experience. i recall this dilemma even further back, 15+ years ago, when i was feeling that one could either live in the present moment or photograph/document the experience, but couldn’t really do both. anyhow, i look forward to when all vehicles are electric so there will be no pollution in the air and one can fully enjoy the fresh, natural air when driving with the windows open. it’s nice that we can now have a glimpse of what our future will look like with less pollution. i hope this time inspires many more people to realize what changes we need to make to improve our experience here on earth. i also look forward to when autonomous full self driving technology is complete and legal to use, so one can have a deeper sense of relaxation and more fully embrace the beauty of the surrounding landscape when going for a ride, without the need to concentrate at all on operating the vehicle.

all still images were shot at iso 60, 1/128 shutter speed, and a custom white balance, at an interval of one shot every 3 seconds, and the video is rendered at 10 fps. it looks like the very thin filter i used is quite reflective and/or perhaps slightly bent.. i’ll need to work on a solution for the strange glare its producing when the sunlight is on it for better results. seeing this issue, i rather quickly adjusted a couple images in lightroom and copy/pasted all the same basic settings to every image, and then gave the beginning images (when driving south) slightly different settings to compensate a bit for the glare that showed up in most frames in that direction. it’s by no means perfect, as the light shifted depending on which direction i was going and when i drove in & out of the shade (and as the sun started to dip toward the horizon later in the drive), though i didn’t want to go through all 4552 frames to tweak them (as originally i was going to post this on instagram which has very high compression and it would’ve been sped up to a minute to be able to post it there).. it looks like youtube’s re-compression lost a bit of the contrast and detail too, as it looks noticeably worse (softer, with muddy contrast) playing it back on youtube compared to the original file (picking the 4k setting on youtube helps, but still loses some of the fine detail of the original). anyhow, enough of the technical details.. i shot another the day after this one that i’ll be uploading next.