Forced Rhubarb timelapse

I love a challenge, and one certainly came my way when I decided to shoot a time-lapse of forced rhubarb growing. Easy, I thought, in the days of super high ISO, all you need is a hint of light and away you go. Forced rhubarb is rhubarb that is grown out of season and is 'tricked' into 'thinking' it is Spring time. This is done by creating a Spring like temperature and depriving them of light. Forced Rhubarb is grown in complete darkness. What to do? If I shot the time-lapse on location in the infamous Yorkshire Rhubarb triangle it would mean driving up from the M25 a couple of time a week and risk getting the whole set up destroyed by the sprinklers. So thanks to the very kind generosity of Jonathan Westwood a 6th generation rhubarb grower,from Wakefield in Yorkshire, that we were able to make the shoot happen over a 5 week period in Hertfordshire when he donated a rhubarb root. So I had my root now what? Forced rhubarb is more tended and has a sweeter taste, with a characteristic light pink stem and small yellow leaves. I needed complete darkness, so I bought a 'festival black out tent' on eBay for £25 and for then good measure I covered it in a heavy black out curtain.

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I placed the rhubarb root in an upturned dustbin lid(it does not need any kind of earth or soil) and worked out a watering regime(twice a day with a fine mist spray) and waited. I nearly forgot to tell you about the lighting, the tricky part.

It was going to be a time-lapse with flash, so I used a single Elinchrom style 600 head and bounced the light back towards the growing rhubarb with really fabulous Chimera wire framed light shapers.reflectors


I shot the time-lapse with a Canon 5D Mk1(if I was going to wear a shutter out it was not going to be on one of my 'everyday' cameras) and a Zeiss 25mm F2.0. I set the Canon intervalometer TC80-N3 to take a photo every 20 minutes and shot raw. I Edited the frames in a combination of Quicktime and FCPX 5 weeks later this was the result.   Forced Rhubarb Timelapse from Gardner Creative on Vimeo.