Painting With Light.

Photograph © Jeremy Wade Shockley 2009.

A number of years back I took a workshop with photographer Dave Black, who is a dedicated artist in the technical process of Light Painting. This is a technique that requires manipulating the scene with creative lighting sources as a long exposure is produced.

The process can be as simple as setting up a tripod and using a basic flashlight to illuminate the scene, the “scene” can be as simple as a still life on your kitchen table, or expanded to an entire landscape.

Dave’s own work is impressive and covers everything from classic western cowboy scenes to an impressive project in which he collaborated with numerous National Geographic photographers to produce varied images from Arlington Cemetery. Dave’s approach to this project kept him working through the night with assistants and a large array of portable light sources.

This image was my first, and to date, my last attempt at Light Painting. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but rather the technique is a style in itself removed from my own journalistic direction. This photograph was produced by setting up a Nikon D80 on Bulb, during a full moon. I tripped the shutter using a remote cable and then proceeded to “paint” light onto the walls of this Anasazi Ruin before tripping off the shutter. I then used a high contrast sepia to brighten the painted areas of the scene during post production.

The possibilities of this process are almost endless, and I certainly had a great time giving it a try- so strap on your head lamp, bring out some of your heavy flashlights, and perhaps a strobe or two with warming gels, and get creative!

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