Trail Cameras Project
FREE Gallery Opening and Artist Talk: Saturday, November 19, 11:00 – 1:00
The Fitton Center introduces a project inspired by artist Alyssa Salomon in which artists from four high schools turn trail camera images into a Community Gallery exhibition. Artist Talk and Q&A. Features student work from Badin, Butler Tech School of the Arts, Hamilton, and Oak Hills High Schools.
Trail cameras are high-quality devices that are used to track wildlife creatures in their natural habitat with minimal disturbances. They use infrared technology to capture footage quickly for a variety of uses. Studio Art AP 2D Design Photography students were challenged to select a routine daily activity that occurs in the home environment or other environment they spend significant time in and make that the subject of their photograph. They used the trail camera to record the unexpected events that transpired in that space.
The prompt was “Recording the Daily.” Pick a daily activity that happens in your home environment or any other environment that you spend significant time in, and make that your subject. The daily activity that I choose that I spend significant time in is Astrophotography, specifically setting up and the process through doing Astrophotography. I plan on getting pictures of the process of setting up for Astrophotography, but adding a creepy factor to it. Almost as if the trail camera took pictures of ghosts. The idea for this project was to take 5 pictures with the trail camera and stack them on top of each other and drop the opacity of the layers to make the subjects see through, like ghosts. In my process, I practiced with different filters and adjustments in photoshop, camera raw filters, and different pictures from the internet to overlay on the picture to add different effects. experimented with the contrast of the image, the color balance of the image, and the options in Camera Raw Filter. As I was working, I revised the opacity of each image because if I did 50% opacity for every image, I would eventually disappear from the image. When I did different opacities for every image, I was able to make each picture somewhat translucent but you could still see me in every picture. I also changed how grainy the image was. Initially, the image is pretty clear, but because I was going for a creepy look, I made the image more grainy to add that creepy factor.
The prompt for this project was “Recording the Daily”. My idea behind this was that a lot occurs daily in my own front yard, and I wanted to capture the happenings of my neighborhood and household from the outward perspective of my own home. I practiced with a trail camera strapped to a tree in my front yard, positioned to capture my driveway and a portion of the street in front of my house. I experimented with different filters and effects in Adobe Photoshop and Camera RAW in order to achieve certain moods and emotions in my images. I revised many of the photographic elements in Camera RAW for each picture in order to make them more visually appealing and complete before adding the additional effects in Photoshop. I believe this collection provides a great insight into what I am currently able to accomplish using Adobe Photoshop, and I hope to learn much more about the different tools and techniques in the near future.
The prompt asked to track/document a daily activity or routine on a trail camera, the same way that wild animals are caught in their day-to-day life on trial cams. I used to go to my dad’s as a part of my daily routine and set up the camera at different vantage points to show me leaving my house, getting into my car, driving, then walking into my dad’s house. I like the idea of making the pictures look like they were caught off guard or done without knowing, so this is what I tried to portray in my piece. I, also, liked the creepy undertone of being watched or followed as you go through the normal movements of people’s lives. I had never used a trail camera before and had to practice a lot with different placements of the camera and movements and I took a lot of test photos just to test it out. I practiced with photoshop to learn how to lay the pictures on top of each other and change opacity, as well as vibrance, hue, contrast, etc. I had to change a lot of different placements and use sets of pictures that were taken in the same place. On photoshop, I layered a lot of images on top of each other to see which worked and looked the best. Some of my photos only have 2 layered pictures, while some have 3. I also experimented with the vibrance because one of my final products came out to be black and white, unlike my others. On a couple of the pictures, I later changed the vibrance to make the pieces correlate better because the 3rd picture ended up being completely black and white. I also did this to better let the pictures fit the idea of being watched or having a creepier undertone.
The Prompt was “Recording the Daily ” and I chose to take pictures of my everyday morning routine and my night routine. I think this shows a little look into my OCD because I have to have the same exact routine at night and for school, every morning or the rest of my day is interrupted and I feel extreme anxiety. I think this shows it because most of the pictures have a more serious tone and I look very focused. Also, the sandwiching of multiple images shows the repetitiveness of my routines and it is done multiple times. It is almost robotic because of its consistency. Also, there are images of me making my bed in the morning and me checking my doors to make sure they are locked which is a huge thing with my anxiety. I liked experimenting with interesting editing tools and effects because I don’t have much experience with them and I wanted more practice and to try them out. I also like having one photo (the background) as the prominent one and then having other images that are blurred around it or on top of it. I think it made everyday pictures of just me getting ready more interesting and unique. Lastly, I like that my images are all very different, they all tell a story and have more depth to them than at first glance. I used a trail camera to take all my pictures. I used Adobe Illustrator to edit my pictures. On Adobe I used the sandwich tool on all of my photos, some with 2 layers of images and some with 3 layers. I adjusted the brightness and exposure and used the HDR toning effects to add more detail to the pictures. This gave them more of a comic-like effect. I also used the black-and-white filter to make all of my images the same and help with the consistency effect. I experimented by using different angles for my pictures. Most of the time I set the camera up to be a little lower than parallel to me. I did this by setting it on my vanity, dresser, and bathroom sink. In some of the photos like the one taken in my living room I set it on my coffee table and had it not show my face but my body. I faced two different directions and then sandwiched them together to show that I have to check my doors every single night and it is a long process where I look back and forth between my front door and back door. This is just a glance into some of my daily OCD habits.
In challenging my students to capture moments related to their daily routines, I became intrigued by the idea of recording the shenanigans of my cats. I’ve often wondered what they do when I’m not at home, or am sleeping at night. I often hear thundering paws but have no idea what they are getting into. In an effort to create a surrealistic atmosphere to the works, I layered the trail camera images that were strategically placed throughout my house to capture the transient nature of their activities and add a touch of the paranormal to the memorializing of their shenanigans.
Trail Cameras Project: Hunting the Unexpected is part of the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial.