SHUTTER SPEED: 91 SEC
CAMERA: HASSELBLAD X1D-50C
LENS: Hasselblad CF 80mm f/2.8 (with adapter)
© DANIEL MERCADANTE
What made you become the photographer you are today?
I think that practicing photography almost every day constantly reshapes how you see the world. There is a shift in perspective that comes in the form of new ideas of expression and a sharpening of the craft. For me, I've found that making photographs is a sort of communion with nature. In my work directing films, I work with a lot of people with the goal of observing and documenting them in their truest sense of self. There is often a race against time, to not miss a fleeting moment and to be on schedule. With my photography as of late, time usually slows down at first. I explore environments and find a canvas with what nature has to offer. Then I play with time and light to reinterpret reality. Moving to a rural home amidst a lot of forest has inspired me enormously – the way that the light and forms of nature are constantly shifting through the seasons, it's a miracle. Sometimes I just can't help exploring and imagining within the beauty of nature.
What does the X System camera do for your photography?
The X1D has been instrumental in developing my photography further. The X1D's compact size, intelligent and flexible User Interface, and incredible image quality are perfect for my work. I find myself hiking long distances to shoot and being able to work with a medium format powerhouse without a lot of extra weight is wonderful. Shooting long exposure light painting at night really tests the limits of the camera's image quality. The color depth and dynamic range of the images that the X1D produces gives me a phenomenal amount of flexibility in editing the images to get the right balance of light.
Tell us the story behind how you created your image.
This photograph is part of my Rainbow Road series. For the past couple of years, I've been making these rainbows in nature using a homemade lighting rig and long exposures. For this particular shot, I ventured into the Marin Headlands in Northern California. It was a calm night, colder than it should have been. I could barely see where I was amidst all of the fog that evening, but I managed to find this piece of a bike trail that cut into the hillside. After falling down the hill into some prickly brush while setting up another shot, I was pleased that this image only took 5 or 6 runs with my homemade rainbow rig to get right. On my walk back to the car, I ran into a couple who had seen a rainbow light racing along the ridge amidst the fog thinking it was some sort of UFO. I acted surprised, just to keep them on their toes of imagination.