Leopard Street Tunnel II

January 1st, 2008

Eager to try out some lighting ideas, I returned to the Leopard Street Tunnel, though I can’t say I came away with anything particularly memorable. 

It’s interesting to contrast different perceptions of a location.  Chris took great offense to the smell in the main junction in the Leopard Street Tunnel, while Jon said he’d rather trudge in from the river than break his back again on the inland entrance.  To be fair both are valid criticisms of an otherwise interesting location :)

Chris and I headed in recently for a visit, via the inland route, spotting some recent visitors’ graffiti on the way.  This is certainly a popular location, and it’s a shame so many visitors seem compelled to leave their mark.  Anyway, as mentioned above, there was a particular smell in the junction area – our chosen destination – so despite the cool night outside we were met with a hot, humid stench.  Lovely!  As a result, we didn’t spend long inside before returning the way we came.

My aim was to shoot some brick textures, and see how effective different lighting approaches were in the tunnels.  The nicest brick textures and water highlights seemed to come from either bounced/diffused light from behind and to the side of the shot, or from directly in front of the camera.  The problem with the former is that flash obviously has a limited range, while the latter leads to a certain kind of shot that has already been done (and better) by many others.  Incidentally, the front-on shot here uses about twenty pops from various locations.  Hooray for remote shuter releases!

I should mention that I’m avoiding torches for painting where possible, in favour of the more even and controlled light of flashes.  The torch is still handy for composition test shots, of course.

Sadly, I managed to incur some depth-of-field issues with one shot, where I was focusing very close, to highlight the thin roots running through the top of the brick tunnel.  Dear oh dear. 

Chris found much amusement in my insistence in parking away from the drain entrance, and in my overly-stealthy quietness.  I say you can never be inconspicuous enough…

There will no doubt be further shots from in here – I’m determined to at least get something worthwhile from the location eventually – but it might be a difficult thing to talk Jon and Chris into accompanying me, at least without a few “real” trips first :)

7 Responses to “Leopard Street Tunnel II”

  1. Jonon 02 Jan 2008 at 12:40 pm

    More tunnels! Now this really must be the last for a while – especially since the rain seems to have washed in some “interesting” smells you were graced with. In these century old tunnel systems god only know what pipes cross what and seep into where.

    My preference for the outflow exit (given a low tide) is purely based on minimal effort. That said, the walk over the uneven rock-blasted sections is time consuming and rather slow and boring.

    Photos. I like the second shot. Were you by chance using a recently acquired lens :)

  2. Jonon 02 Jan 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Damn your blog and it’s not putting proper para tags on my comment! – only br’s.

  3. Svenon 02 Jan 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Yes indeed, in fact all those shots were taken with said lens, though it may not always be obvious at a glance. The rectilinear version of the scene distorts the circular pipe a bit too much for my liking.

    That second shot was the dubious result of experiments in lighting the tunnel, and I have a couple of other variations. I have a plan in mind for constructing a ‘gobo’ to block the direct light, avoid lighting myself, but still provide a front-on light for the tunnel itself. That probably makes no sense as a description, but if it works, I’ll expand on it a little.

    Actually, I’d go back in from the river again, just to check out the rock section at a more leisurely pace…

  4. Svenon 02 Jan 2008 at 1:37 pm

    This blog software has no interest in semantic structure. <br> all the way :)

  5. ekwelekson 01 Feb 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Hmm this drain is always full of interesting smells, couple spots of gas and a little bit of poo. Its pretty normal and has always been like that. Generally i find rain washes out any nastiness as opposed to creating it in a drain.

    I dont think ive done a drain in Bris that doesnt have at least a little bit of poo in it.

    Try drinking the water from the little spring in the side of the drain, i heard its good for ya nutticles

  6. Svenon 01 Feb 2008 at 12:22 pm

    It still smells better than some of those manholes I popped before I learned which ones were which :)

  7. ekwelekson 01 Feb 2008 at 8:36 pm

    Hahaha, so i guess you know what the triangle manholes are now :D

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