Tag Archives: perspective
I decided to try out my own form of cymatics ‘sound visualisation’ for my Final exhibition of my University degree in Photography.
After several months of researching cymatics and producing hundreds of test shots, I found my own way of capturing this phenomena and created a 16 image series that was featured in the degree exhibition
Below are some of the images which I selected to form my collection.
Post production was minimal (cropping, aligning and increased black to the bottom of the images) as my technical research and photographic experiments allowed me the best way to optimise the parameters of the shots.
I have also included a picture of myself at the degree show next to my work to show how I took the images out of chronological sequence to produce a conceptual post modernistic context.
For the exhibition I also had to devise a statement that provided context to my work and represented me as an artist.
Below is the statement I wrote:
Structured Entropy Arrested Vibration
The foundations of the universe can be defined by energy, mass and entropy, with vibration being the vessel that interlinks them all. Entropy is the measurement of disorder and this factor can help in the understanding of the irregularities and inconsistencies that occur in all aspects of our existence.
The primal instincts of Human nature are to progress and bring order to chaos. ‘Structured Entropy – Arrested Vibration’, is a photographic series that is been constructed to document the hidden formations that occur in reaction to the natural process of vibration. Using a speaker to provide vibration, Harrison has placed a mixture of consumer grade anti -aging cream onto the speaker and photographed the event, in a manner that suspends the moment of implosion.
The images have been taken out of a chronological sequence and arranged in a uniformed manner. 16 images have been chosen to be displayed in a 4×4 grid which conforms to uniformity and aesthetically providing a sense of unity in variety. Particular consideration has also been given to the framing which provides separation.
Following the principles of Conceptual art and Post-modernist theory, Harrison endeavours to examine and question- temporality, absence, the human condition and our connections to the natural world, revealing the perpetuated tensions between order and complexity.
Finding my inspiration from the amazing Nigel Stamford Cymatics video that I wrote about back in 2014 – click here for the post
I decided to look further into the origins of cymatics and found the word was invented by Dr Hans Jenny.
Dr Hans Jenny created several televised experiments back in the 1960s which are mind blowing to watch, several clips can be found on youtube.
The videos give a great introduction to cymatics and shows scientific phenomena in action.
Although all the experiments in the series have been conducted in laboratories, I still wanted to try and do my own sound visualisation projects.
I remembered back to an episode of the television series ‘The big bang theory’ which showed a scene where they had conducted an experiment using a non newtonian liquid cornflour and made it move from the sounds.
A clip from this scene is linked to the picture below:
Trying my own Cymatics photography Experiment
This got me thinking about recreating the scene myself and after finding an old speaker and watching several youtube tutorials which explained in detail what equipment was needed to produce the formations. I then mixed cornflour with water and using an online tone generator I was able to make sounds that could be visually experienced through the liquid within the speaker.
A picture of my set up is shown below:
Lighting wise I was able to use 2 off camera bare flashes set at their lowest setting 1/128 and used a microphone trigger with a delay function to light the image. The camera was set to an exposure of 1 second and the room was darkened to ensure no ambient light was leaking into the exposure. For the background I used a black cotton sheet.
I have included a diagram of my home studio set up which will hopefully help to create a similar scene when photographing high speed liquid on a speaker.
The diagram above shows the settings I used on my Nikon Dslr camera. I have also stated on the diagram that I used a Tamron 90mm lens but I also tried the Tamron 70-300mm lens which had a macro function (albeit not as sharp as the dedicated macro 1:1 – 90mm) because of thelonger focal length which had its own advantages.
I used the laptop that was connected to the hifi and found a simple yet extremely effective tone generator
Which allowed me to play the tones through to the hifi speaker that I had hooked up to the laptop with compatible AUX cables
I tried sound frequencies through the speaker between 10 and 160hz, to find out what could be seen. From this I noted that the lower frequencies (10-30hz) made shapes with deep contours. 60hz made formations that were biomorphic /nature like in form
I have listed 2 of the most helpful youtube guides underneath
- Cornflour and speaker tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UVjOoJaWGo
- Cornflour and speaker tutorial https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zoTKXXNQIU
Below are a few of the formations I was able to capture using a 60hz sound tone
Although i found the formations to be strange and interesting i did not like the clingfilm shown in the photograph so decided to go back to the drawing board and find another way to convey cymatics.
Cymatics Photograpy experiment 2: Alternative non Newtonian liquid
My next set of experiments used the same speaker components set up but this time I swapped the clingfilm for a black rubber balloon which allowed for a level surface over the speaker.
My first job was to set the camera & tripod in a front facing horizontal position that brought the speaker tight into the camera frame.
Once I had my camera in a good place, I then needed to get the lighting how I wanted it for the shot (background blacked out and only the speaker in the frame.
I mentioned earlier I was using a 1 second shutter speed on the camera because it was the 2 xspeedlights (flashguns) that would light the image.
Most consumer level cameras are unable to sync with speedlights at the high speeds needed to capture cymatics images or any other events that the eye cannot see. We overcome this by using sound to activate speedlights but in this case we do not want activation from the exact moment of sound we need to wait for a reaction.
To allow for these additional fractions of a second I needed to use a sound trigger with a delay function which allows the speedlites a changeable delay in 1000ths of a second from when they activate after hearing a sound. The reason we need this control is because if there was not a delay then the instance of the flash would not allow for any formations to occur. You can purchase sound triggers with delays from lots of different photographic outlets online, Ive used ones from Ebay, Amazon and a small electronics company. I would recommend starting with a basic model as long as it features a delay function.
Below shows me trying to get a shot of a screw being lifted into the air by the vibration of the speakers rubber membrane when a sound tone is played and the speedlights are activated.
If you click on the image above to enlarge it, you can see that the screw has started to levitate above the speakers balloon surface.
I used a metal screw as it was a far less messy alternative to liquids whilst I was getting my timings right. The constraints I decided to work to were if the screw was still upright it was before the sound tone vibration reached the speaker then the exposure was too soon. Likewise if the screw flew off it was too late. Expect to spend a lot of your set up time on this part of the process as once the lighting and the timings have been set, you will be all set to go with the creativity.
After I had captured the photograph of the screw I then was able to change to liquids and started with the cornflower.
Unfortunately after several attempts I realised nothing actually happened with Corn flour/starch so I decided to try other non newtonian liquids and came across a good consistency in shampoo and body lotion.
Finally after many attempts i managed to capture the moment of the liquid rising. Below are some of my 1st shots that showed the liquid rising, however as you can see, I needed to again alter the fraction of time to allow more of the formation to show.
Even shaving gel gave off some strange but interesting formations, The following images show these gel turning into foam at the point of sound implosion.
After some changes to:
- focal length
- delay to sound
- tripod height
- speedlight duration
I was finally at a place where I was able to get some images that I was able to use as my own take on Cymatics and sound visualisation. In total I was able to capture over 70 of these types of images in this one session, using the same 60hz tone wave from the online generator.
I tried several different lotions and liquids from around the house, combining on occasion, each time the formations gave of a strange surreal shape.
Post production is minimal with this sort of photography, I use lightroom to increase black and add some contrast and for this batch I turned my image into monochrome (b&w) but apart from that and a crop to help with composition, and a few tweaks to the tones nothing more was needed.
I have featured some of the formations that I captured below. I hope this blog helps others in the basic when trying their own photography experiments.
CYMATICS Science by Nigel Stanford:
Click the image to view the video or use the following link http://youtu.be/Q3oItpVa9fs
The footage really is mind blowing, showcasing, Science and Sound and how they can be manipulated in a way that transcends into art.
I am amazed with how it all works. This fantastic video features lots of scientific experiments with progressively dangerous elements added to the mix. I came across this footage when it was shown by a tutor from the Science department at Salford university. I had made an appointment with Dr Richard Pilkington to discuss ideas on how to collaborate with the Science department on my final major project for my BA Hons Degree in Photography.
The footage which has foundations built around the application of physics, gave me a lot of inspiration for a photographic take on these kind of experiments.
Below are some screen shots of the video showing how the team experiment with sound, electricity and vibration in a mesmorising way.
Image source www.dezeen.com
Image source nofilmschool.com
Image source nofilmschool.com
Image source www.dezeen.com
For more information on this video and a the opportunity to download a HD version please click on the following link for Nigel Stanfords website. —> HERE
I have come to realise that most of the macro photography I undertake, is related to science. I find the subject has a magical appeal to it. Although far removed from fantasy in that it is applied to record in a non-fictitious way, I am still amazed and in awe of its capabilities, not just in technology but in an environmental and biological essence. These feelings bring out my inner child, especially when I see experiments that are visually surreal & challenge my brains ability to process the information straight away, I find myself cast back to an enchanted mindset of youthful discovery.
One of my very first reasons that I was drawn to photography was from watching the discovery channel with my mother when I was a teenager and seeing a documentary on Bioluminescent Organisms – These creatures from the depths of the ocean had the ability to emit light from their bodies. This I have looked into further when I produced a series of image which focused on their biological systems using a laser technology related to physics.
I had been wanting to take some more long exposure pictures in the daytime and knew that I would need a stronger neutral density (nd) filter to stop the exposure from being blown out. In the past I had used an 8 stop filter to capture water and this had been good for places where there was not much light however I knew the beach in the sunshine would pose more challenges.
below are 2 of the images I took using a an 8 stop screw on nd filter.
If you have not heard of a neutral density filter or are unsure of their function, these filters can be attached to a lens and allow longer shutter speeds to be used in the daylight.
I found a really interesting article from Digital Photography School which explains how to use a 10 stop neutral density (ND) filter to create a dramatic look to a photograph. —– click for the article here
In 2014 I took a family holiday to Newquay in Cornwall UK and had the opportunity to try out a (screw on type) 10stop neutral density filter when we went to Fistral Beach.
- Nikon d90 dslr
- 18-55mm lens
- Manfrotto Tripod
- Remote Release cable
- 10 stop neutral density filter (screw type)
The image below shows the waves that were present on that day at Fistral
I used an app on my mobile phone called ‘ND filter calc’ which allowed me to put in the camera settings I used for the picture above to tell me what I could use with a 10 stop filter
The app calculated that I was able to use the following settings:
- s30 seconds
- ISO 100
With a few tweaks for the different angles I was able to remove the waves and show a mist which was created by the exposure time and made the waves look creamy.
The challenges I found came with attaching the filter and maintaining a sturdy base for my tripod when positioned in the water as the waves kept making the tripod sink.
Below are some of the images that I managed to get with the 10 stop filter
What are peoples thoughts on the 10 stop ND filter and is there a recommended brand?