Light Painting the Landscape

May 19, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Joshua Tree National Park You did all that with a torch??  "But why don't you show up in the photo?" "How did you do that?" are some of the comments I got at a recent exhibition. But the reaction is overwhelmingly positive and one of my light painted photos is my best selling print.

With Light Painting the world, the Landscape is your darkroom. You choose exactly what you want to illuminate, what light effects to add. You create the light. The only limit is your creativity. Even well photographed locations can be seen in a new light.

Magpie Mine

Out on location reactions from people are even more varied "wooow - cosmic!" "I thought the ufo's had landed!" "do you mind if we watch?" "I'm amazed you can get a scene like that just using a torch!" Sometimes you will come across someone who is a little suspicious - it is a good idea to have some examples on your phone to show that you are not up to some nefarious nocturnal activity. If you want to shoot on private land ask the land owner first, show them some examples of your work, explain it is not a commercial shoot just personal work, offer them a print in return. They will mostly be happy to oblige.  Minninglow, Bronze age burial site

A frequent comment I get is "aren't you scared of going out at night in the countryside?" Well, I'd be much more scared wandering around a city late at night. The truth is, Led light technology has changed the way we can work and play at night. The light I use on my mountain bike is brighter than my car headlights. There is no need to be scared of the dark anymore. Charcoal kilns, Death Valley NP

Padley Gorge, Peak District It is still a good idea to visit a location in daylight. Places look different at night. This will avoid you getting lost and spotting any potential pitfalls that you could miss at night.  One of the fun aspects of Light Painting is this is not a static exercise, you create the light, and it can be a team effort. Light painting has been called "Light Art Performance Photography", and yes it can be a dance with lights lasting minutes that is frozen in the image that appears on your screen. I frequently meet up with other Light Painters locally, and whilst everyone has their own particular style, it is fun joining in with other people's shoots and sharing concepts and ideas.


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