April 5, 2010
Yesterday, 4th April, was the day crazy people around the world took to the streets of their local city at 4am for 4amproject.org:
The aim of the 4amproject is to gather a collection of photos from around the world at the magical time of 4am. Everyone can take part and join in! All you need is a camera. We want to see what you see at that moment in time on that one day. What’s your view at 4am?
I read about this through PetaPixel at around 11pm, needless to say I instantly jumped at this. I scheduled to meet my friend at 3:30am, from where we would drive somewhere into Central London. I had no idea what to expect from London at 4am. I’m always drunk whenever I experience the city that late/early.
I did not sleep and I was practically dead when picked my friend up. We drove past Westminster Bridge and saw how beautiful it was at night. We both agreed to park nearby and walk as Southbank, Waterloo, etc were walking distance away.
This is the route we took. Each photo has been placed on the map where it was taken or as close as possible.
Here’s a higher-resolution slideshow of the photos from the morning (or see them on Flickr on lower-resolution):
A remote control arrived that morning and if I did not bring that, my photo strategy would have radically changed and I wouldn’t have been as happy with the results as I am. I instantly knew I would be taking long exposures with the Canon EF-S18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, otherwise known as the “Shit Stock Lens”.
I basically tied my camera to anything and everything using the Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom with the ballhead attachment. This was the first time using the Gorillapod and I have to say, for this, it was perfect. The only problem I had was straightening the legs once I was finished with a shot, though if you’re constantly tying it around rails and benches, it’s awesome.
Once mounted, I would use the remote control to control the shutter speed (the camera was on fully manual with BULB setting for shutter speed). What’s awesome is the Canon 500D displays the seconds the shutter has been open for on the LCD.
Protip: anyone can take photos like mine. You just need a stable surface and manually set the shutter speed. This is definitely achievable with an inexpensive point and shoot. In fact, the next time I do this, I’ll take my Sony DSC-T70 and do some more experiments with my 500D.
Despite freezing my chops off and being ridiculously tired, this was definitely worth it. Walking around Central London at 4am (read: sober) is definitely an experience; you don’t see many people but the ones you do see are the ones you think about, like what they’re doing, where they’re going, etc. We even saw a lovely couple broadcast their fornication outside Embankment Tube Station.
This post is already 50 million times longer than I had planned.
Summary: I loved it. I look forward to the next 4amproject.