Little Planet Ladysmith
This was my second effort at doing a photosphere/little planet photograph. It was a technical challenge to make this image especially due to the rapidly changing light at twilight. I went out a number of times to capture twilight images and during these outings conceived the idea of doing this photosphere to better capture the amazing Christmas lights in downtown Ladysmith that are put out for the annual Festival of Lights. It is not unusual for 10,000 people, mostly from out of town, to come for “light-up”.
In preparation for taking the set of images, I planned the location and orientation of the Canadian flag. I also wanted the centre line to create a dynamic leading line in the image. The unexpected blessing in the image, that I only noticed when I created the sphere, is that the train looks like it can travel around the globe.
It was quite a learning experience creating this image and since I can be a slow learner (ask my patient wife) two trips were required to achieve success. The first trip was made at 6 a.m. on Christmas morning. I set my camera up on the centre line of the road and had to keep getting off the road as cars kept coming – I thought that there would be no traffic this early on Christmas day! I had to take a total of 8 exposures with one pointed straight up and one pointed straight down. Just when I got about 4 images taken a car would come along and I would have to remove my tripod. I would start all over and this would repeat. Finally, I realized that I had to mark the tripod feet locations on the road so that I could replace the tripod and continue the exposures. All of the images were finally captured and then I learned the next lesson. When I got home, I discovered that the light changes so rapidly at twilight that I could not get the sky to match when I wrapped the panorama into a sphere. I then decided to go back out the next morning to take all 8 exposures really rapidly.
The second trip was another learning experience on staying focussed on the task at hand. I did not want to wake people as I departed in the pitch black night so I did not turn lights on outside. I went out the door and looked sideways at the sunrise area of the sky to see how much time I had and promptly fell straight down the stairs flat onto the cement face down. I first felt pain in my chest and then with horror realized my camera was lying under me. I also now had a major headache which did not enhance clear thinking. I slowly picked myself back up and went into the house to survey the damage. Amazingly, the L-bracket mounted on my camera took the majority of the impact and the camera and lens were perfect except for a minor surface scratch on the camera. I had a nosebleed and a scrape on my chin but otherwise I was fine as well. I cleaned up and then went off and managed to get a rapid complete set of exposures after a number of attempts interrupted by cars.
When I look at this image I remember the adventure in capturing it – that is a key part of the joy of photography for me. I feel this picture shows that Ladysmith is not just another town but is truly another world!