I just finished a class with Gabriel Biderman and Chris Nicholson from National Parks at Night about light painting and shooting black and white. Or as Vincent Versace would say, chromatic grey scale. To paraphrase Gabe, a lot of people shoot in color and only convert to black and white when the color photo doesn’t work. Usually I shoot black and white for a specific project or when a picture screams at me I need to be a black and white photo.
This was the last set of photos I took at our Sloss Furnaces workshop. I usually don’t think of taking pictures of star trails in the middle of a big city, but in this case the folks at Sloss were kind enough to shut off the lights for three days and allow us to do envision their historic landmark in a new way. This stack was about 38 photos and I finished just before dew fall. I really wondered about this, since I had been doing star trails up in Rocky Mountain Park with Chris, it was much darker up there so I was happy to see these results.
Ty from Sloss Furnaces gave us all a special tour when we started which added so much more to the experience. Ty mentioned that the Birmingham administration put funding the museum/furnaces to a vote. The vote was 100% in favor and they dedicated 3 million dollars. There are about 10,000 students that tour the facility on a yearly basis. In our case having Ty explain what these buildings and machinery contained within, helped us understand what we were photographing.
Not only is this interesting from the point of view of being a historian or technologist, but Sloss furnaces has an arts program that’s going strong. Being made of pig iron, their pieces are a little heavy.