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Last weekend, I was sat at home wondering how I could test out my recently purchased Canon 7D. I had been waiting to get this camera for a while as it has video capabilities and comes at a relatively affordable price, compared to most high-end camcorders. I had seen the quality of videos that the camera could produce and I was keen to get my hands on one and to see what it could do.
I was trying to think up ideas when I stumbled on a news piece about Earth Hour that evening. I am sure you are well aware of the concept, however if you’re not, head here to Earth Hour’s site to get more background info. In a nutshell, Earth Hour is a ‘call to action’ against climate change by switching off lights for one hour on a specific date, with millions of people taking part all around the world. This year, the date was Saturday 27th March 2010 from 8:30 pm to 9:30pm.
As those who visit here often will know, much of my photography is based on environmental issues, so I thought this event would be perfect as a continuation in the theme of my work. So, braving a bitterly cold, biting wind on one of Beijing’s last winter nights, I decided to head to the Bird’s Nest Stadium, the city’s centerpiece for the 2008 summer Olympic Games.
I arrived a couple of hours early and scouted for positions that I thought would work best to create the effect that I wanted. I knew I wanted to do time-lapse, so I needed to set myself up in a position that would not only show off the lights on the stadium but also have something happening within the foreground to keep the video interesting. I settled on a spot to the west of the stadium, right in front of the equally spectacular Water Cube swimming Center.
Setting the 7D up on a tripod, I started the video rolling about 10 minutes before the lights were scheduled to go out. At this point, I wasn’t entirely sure that the lights were going to go off. I had read that the Bird’s Nest was involved last year but couldn’t find any confirmation it was happening again in 2010. Much to my relief, they went off. Then came my second worry. Would they come back on again? The Olympic park was scheduled to close at 10pm, half an hour after the end of Earth Hour. I thought, if I was the one in control of the electricity, why turn them on again so close to closing time? ! Luckily, my worries were not needed as the lights came back on, right on schedule.
I hope you like the final piece. If you want to see it bigger, double click on the video window to launch YouTube. You can watch it in HD, up to 1080p.
Please let me know of any thoughts you have and don’t forget to check out Earth Hour’s website to find out more information. Any events that raise awareness of environmental issues are worthy ones.