Birmingham Airport to Coach Station in pixel-width strips

I’ve been playing around with slit-scan photography lately and at the tail end of a long and boring coach journey I thought I’d try recording the journey into Birmingham as a slit-scan. The app I was using was limited to 2044 pixels so I couldn’t do the whole thing at once but these five pretty much cover the view from Birmingham Airport to Digbeth Coach Station.

(click for full size)

Coach from BHX to Digbeth

A bit of explanation is probably in order.

The camera (in this case an iPad) is held firmly against the coach window. Any movements are those of the coach itself. It was set to take eight 1x480px photos every second and stack them in a row. So what you’re seeing is sort of like a movie, and sort of not at all like a movie.

When the coach is moving quickly you see a lot of noise as the strips of pixels have little in common and when the coach is at a standstill you see the same image repeated over and over as a block. The inbetween bits, where the speed of movement marries up with the view, is where the interesting stuff happens.

For example, the houses on the outskirts along the Coventry Road:

Coach from BHX to Digbeth.jpg

Or these large office blocks in Sheldon:

Coach from BHX to Digbeth.jpg-2

As we get into central Birmingham things start getting noisier but we also get an unexpected visualisation of traffic flow. As the coach comes to a traffic light or congestion the blocks of colour emerge. I also liked this slow crawl around a roundabout (after overtaking a big red lorry), scanning the billboard like a desktop scanner might:

Coach from BHX to Digbeth.jpg-4

There are many slit-scan apps available but I’ve been using this one.

Author: Pete Ashton

Artist and blogger from Stirchley. Runs photography classes and city walks through Photo School. Developing the Birmingham Camera Obscura.

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