Spinning Physiograms

I’ve been meaning to have a crack at Physiograms for ages, having seen the wonderful work of my Flickr contacts Pikebubbles (David Gilliver) and ~ jules ~ (Julian Marshall). The principle is dead simple – hang a torch on a piece of string directly over your camera, take a long exposure while the string spins, moving the light source about.

The theory is easy! In practice – not so easy!

Red Eye Spin With Colour
Red Eye Spin With Colour

I laid my camera on its back on the floor in a dark room, put the widest lens I had on the camera (Canon 10-22mm EF-S f/3.5-4.5 USM) and attached the cable release. Using the only torch I had, plus some coloured cellophane wrappers from a box of Quality Street, I set up the exposure in Bulb mode and locked the shutter open with the cable release. Having spun the string with the first colour, I then put the lens cap carefully on the camera (it still had the shutter open) while I changed over the gel on the torch and set it spinning again. Removed the lens cap, leave for 20 seconds or so, rinse, repeat.

As you can see, my first attempts weren’t great. The colours were OK but everything looked blurred. The torch I was using had quite a fat magnifying lens over the front of the LED which was causing a very fuzzy light source to be emitted.

A few days later with some new torches, I tried again – with much better results. I also tied the string from a hook in the ceiling rather than under a light fitting, which should make for better control of depth of field (as the torch is further away).

Ultra Violent
Ultra Violent – UV Torch
Three Colour Spin
Three Colour Spin – White LED torch with gels

As if these weren’t enough, I decided to hang the LED fan from the string to see what happened – and got some crazy spinning-while-spinning patterns! This one nearly made it for Day #1788:

Fan In A Spin
Fan In A Spin – LED Fan on the string!

I will be doing more experiments with Physiograms soon, to refine my technique. I’ll keep you posted.