Monday, 5 April 2010

The 4am Project

On Saturday night I heard about the 4am project. Basically it's an idea that lots of people get up and take a photo, or a series of  photos at 4am. There is absolutely no reason for this and as a consequence I was very interested.

I heard about it from a Twitter colleague called Steph who I have met once while I was eating a lamb curry and as nice as she was it was a lamb curry. Not much will drag me away from a lamb curry. I'll probably die in a house fire because I'll want to finish a lamb curry first. Anyway, Steph mentioned a Wolverhampton meet for the 4am project at the Train Station and I regularly suffer from insomnia and thought, well if I'm awake I've got something to do. Then I found myself setting my alarm and getting quite excited at the prospect. Rather sensibly I also checked the times for sunset in Wolverhampton. Turns out it was after 6am. This meant that I would have exactly the same light to play with as I had at 9pm. I did wonder then why 4am. Just take a picture at 9, no one would know the difference and I'd be able to get some kip.

Yet strangely I found myself at 3.30am awake, camera gear ready and heading out to the car to drive to the meet. I could have walked but I genuinely expected no one to be there. I arrived at the station at 3.45am and saw a taxi pulling up. I knew Steph was getting a taxi and as the train station was closed it made sense that it was her. We met, I thought about my lamb curry I was eating when I first met her and we went about setting our gear up. Then another four turned up. There was another Dave (there's always at least two Dave's in any group - we are planning world domination), Lee, Adrienne, Steph and Dale. Dale is no doubt gutted that the "l" in his name isn't a "v". When we have achieved world domination I doubt this small change will save him.

Then we set off. Between four and five the six of us wondered around the train station, the arches, the soon to be demolished bus station, the main street and the civic centre. So what are the wonders of 4am photography? Well the first wonder is that you meet some really nice, interesting and talented people. So far the following Flickr photostreams have appeared:

From Lee
http://www.flickr.com/photos/hifu/sets/72157623642736051/

From the other Dave
http://www.flickr.com/photos/falconsandallies/sets/72157623765821416/

From Adrienne
http://www.flickr.com/photos/difazio/

From Dale
http://www.flickr.com/photos/daleshephard/sets/72157623649386455/

From Steph
http://www.flickr.com/photos/essitam/sets/72157623653644009/

And from me
http://www.flickr.com/photos/darlo_dave/sets/72157623764915630/

That's all of them now.

But also 4am photography gives you the pure desolation of a place. Other than a security guard, taxi drivers and one group of piss heads who had been in a fight, we saw no one. Being 37 I am at least 20 years too old for modern nightclubs, so I expected it to be filled with people being kicked out of late licence clubs but it seems that by 4am pretty much everyone has dispersed.

Of course, I spent Sunday snatching sleep when I could but all in all it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and one I hope to recreate.

3 comments:

Fum said...

I love the photos you took but still you're mad getting up that early :-)

adrienne said...

LOVE the dark broody abstract shot under the underpass looking up at the metro bridge! good work. :)

the lensbaby is really just a gimmicky toy (or so lee says.. ;) which comes in a range of fittings for different cameras and is designed to replicate the 'toy camera' feel - very hit and miss, blurry and out of focus etc. but that's why i love playing with it. :) some people also use them as a very basic move towards tilt-shift - but it's nothing like the big daddy official tilt shift lenses canon make.

can't remember where i got mine from - but more information on them can be found here - there are two other types, but one is just a cheaper harder to use version of mine, and the other is a more precise and more expensive version. i'm middle of the road all the way. :) i think loads of places stock - jessops, cameraworld, warehouse express etc.

Dave Taylor said...

I love the feel that a lomo gives to an image so a lensbaby seems right up my street.

Cheers Adrienne, fingers crossed I'll get one soon but in between car tax, writer's guild membership and bus passes for the kids it might be a way off.