Friday, March 4, 2011

The Motion Project

Remember how I was struggling to capture motion in photography and needed an assistant? Well, I got an assistant. I'm not really sure how wise of a decision that was. While ultimately I did manage to capture a few halfway decent shots, the process of getting there was rather painful (in a laughing my a$$ off painful way). That's because I had Mamoo be my assistant. Let's just say her performance was "spotty" because her aim was atrocious.

If you remember the original project idea, I was dropping a strawberry into a glass of water. Well, I went out and bought a rectangular glass vase to use instead since I thought it would have less reflection. Which it did. It was also much larger than the glass so I could have more water and more splash. Which it did. So then I thought to myself, what else can I add? Oh I know, Captain Rex! In case you weren't aware, Captain Rex is my blue betta that normally swims around in a little tank on my kitchen counter. So I scooped up Captain Rex and tossed him in my new vase to test the theory.

Now, people might assume that all fish are alike and will all react the same way to the same stimuli, but that would be an incorrect assumption. Some fish are more freaked out than others. I would never put what I knew was an easily freaked fish into the vase. For instance, I would never under any circumstances put Commander Cody in that vase. He scares himself on a daily basis when he catches his own refleciton in the shiny side of the heater. He's terrified of The Antagonizer. But Captain Rex isn't like that.

Captain Rex is a pretty low key guy, not easily startled. For example, when The Antagonizer plants her fat backside next to his tank and tries to catch him, he doesn't really react. He doesn't run away from the "paws of doom" or even flinch. So I thought he would be a good candidate for my experiment.

So there's Captain Rex, checking out his new digs and looking at out at me. Who knows what he's thinking, he is a fish after all. I don't know, maybe he thinks he's on a field trip and he's waiting for what we're going to do next. Anyway, since my camera was already completely set up and ready to go I grabbed my huge strawberry and get ready for Operation Strawberry Betta. With my finger on the button, I drop the strawberry and push the button as soon as the strawberry enters the frame. Captain Rex flings himself against the farthest wall of the tank in horror. I feel kind of bad about that but as soon as the strawberry starts to ascend back up, Captain Rex swims right over to it and checks it out. So I think "Oh he's fine, he just got a little worried but now he knows it's okay."

Apparently fish have no memory. Because I repeated my experiment a half a dozen times and each and every time got the same result:

Captain Rex swims peacefully around.
Drop strawberry.
"INCOMING!!!!!!!!! Holy shit! What was that?!?!?"
Strawberry starts ascending.
Captain Rex swims right up to it.
"Oh cool! Fruit! I like fruit!"
Remove strawberry from water.
Captain Rex swims peacefully around.

After the half dozen attempts, I figured Captain Rex never was going to figure it out and thought I should quit torturing him. I put him back into his real tank, none the worse for wear, and went about trying to find some other motion to capture.

This was as good as it got.