The Magnetic Properties of Light (Vagabond Clouds No. 2)
This is by far and away my most ambitious and expansive photograph to date. In June of 2014, I came up with the idea for a time-lapse photograph of downtown Rockford, Illinois. I didn't care if it was made at sunrise or sunset, I just needed heavy clouds to be rolling away from the camera. Unlike studio work, you can't control the elements when it comes to making a nature photograph. I went up to the parking garage next to the SupplyCore building a LOT between June and September, but never once did I get the clouds I needed. With transportation costs to downtown Rockford mounting, I considered cutting my losses and moving on to a new project. Luckily, everything came together on the morning of October 1st, 2014. It was a little chilly, but I could tell there was going to be a beautiful sunrise surrounded by rolling clouds. I set my tripod on the ledge of the parking garage and began making 1-2 second exposures shortly before the sun hit the horizon. After twenty minutes, I realized the clouds weren't moving. "You have got to be kidding me. I've come up here almost 50 times this past summer, and now this?!" I was so desperate to get the clouds moving that I started waving my arms like a kicker trying to guide a field goal through the uprights. Nothing. The huge clouds were there, but they just weren't budging, so I decided to make yet another plain 'ol sunrise photograph. Fast forward another twenty minutes and the clouds have begun moving towards the sunrise. Bingo! These time-lapse shots usually require 200 photographs over a 15-20 minute period, but this one? 1139 separate images over a 2 hour and 49 minute period. As soon as I got home I made three backups of all the images. After making the backups, I proceeded to individually load each image into Photoshop and stack them on top of one another. This would turn out to be a 13-hour process in and of itself, but I HAD to make sure all the images were aligned properly. After all 1139 images were stacked on top of one another, I began cleaning up the final image and prepping it to be printed. But wait. What was I going to title this titanic piece of artwork? The clouds are moving to the left, and the sun to the right. It's almost as if the clouds are being drawn towards the sun's positive energy, and right over downtown Rockford no less! And thus, The Magnetic Properties of Light was finally realized.