Solar time lapse burns through film to create a unique look

2019-03-01 12:04:02

Chris McCaw chrismccaw.com By Sam Wong CHRIS McCAW’s muse doesn’t just sit for her photograph – she shoots through the lens and burns holes in it. McCaw discovered this unusual way to document the sun on a camping trip in 2003. Intending to capture an all-night exposure of the stars, “the effects of whisky” meant he overslept and failed to close the shutter before sunrise. Like a magnifying glass, the camera lens focused the sun’s rays so intensely that it scorched the film. Extreme overexposure leads to an effect called solarisation, in which the tonality of the image is reversed: dark areas turn light and light areas appear dark. After experimenting with different media, McCaw began loading vintage gelatin silver photographic paper into the camera instead of film, creating a paper negative that turns positive with solarisation. The composite image above was captured on a trip to Alaska to record the sun’s movements in the continuous daylight of Arctic summer. The image below was taken in the Mojave desert. Chris McCaw chrismccaw.com The process is not just visually appealing, either. “My favourite part is watching smoke come out of the camera during the exposure, and the faint smell of roasted marshmallows as the gelatin cooks!” he says. This article appeared in print under the headline “Black hole sun” More on these topics: