Dusty Cameras

In a complete 180 from my last post, let’s talk about shooting film. Being part of the oldest segment of Millennials, film cameras were very much a part of my childhood, but seem like only a distant nostalgic thing at this point. Just like everyone else in America at that time, my parents had a Canon AE-1. The program mode even allowed five-year-old me to shoot some frames with that camera. … »

Phoning It In

A few years ago I went for a walk one morning during a heavy snow. A teenager approached me and introduced himself as a photographer. He asked if it was ok to make my portrait and then pulled a cell phone out of his pocket. I liked that he wasn’t letting a lack of gear get in the way of his ambition. The ability to be a photographer is in everyone’s pocket. … »

Mixed Light and Doing More with Less

The other day I had a conversation with a friend who is a touring drummer. He said when he first started going on the road he had a huge drum set. Lot’s of toms and cymbals. Nine years later, his kit is a lot simpler and smaller. Over the years he decided there was no reason to load in so much shit for every show because he learned how to do more with less. … »

Manual Lenses: Balancing Fire and Sky

The light work is only half of the equation in a light painting. Making sure the location is visible is just as important, if not more so. Using bright lights or pyro make it tough to get a nice balanced exposure that really shows off your environment. This, in turn, can render your act of trespassing and wading through muddy snake ridden waters entirely pointless. One solution is using a manual aperture lens. … »

Disecting Photons

I really dig fog. A lot. A whole hell of a lot actually. 🙂 I even wrote about using it in long exposure photography a few months ago. For this one, the idea was simple and the execution was fast. It’s only a 14 second exposure. Here’s how it went down. First off, I set up a speedlite (@ 1⁄4 power) with a wireless trigger about 25ft in front of the camera. … »

Shaping EL Wire

Electroluminescent wire (el wire for short) has been used by light painting artists for several years. It’s most common use is creating a glowing smokey effect (ex. 1). A less common use is mounting it onto objects and creating defined shapes and patterns (ex 2). ex 1 : For this photo, blue el wire was taped onto a long stick to get the plumes of light so far above the head of the subject. … »

Man On Fire

In this light painting tutorial I’ll explain how to create the fire effect in the above photo. If you aren’t familiar with light painting, check out this post to understand the basics. What you need eveready electric glow sticks (no, the company does not compensate me for telling you to buy their brand, these glow sticks just work better than others for this effect) a flash or flash light How you do it Overexpose the area behind your subject with a flash or torch, but maintain a dark silhouette. … »

A Perfect Cirlce

A Perfect Circle, besides being one of my favorite bands, is also an easy and cool light painting trick. What you need A paint roller and handle A stand to mount the paint roller onto. I use a stand from a utility light. Some lights to tape onto the roller handle. I like strips of LEDs, cold cathodes, and toy swords that light up. Lights I’ve used Citylites LED Stick Cold Cathodes Light Up Toy Swords What you do Tape some lights onto the paint roller handle and attach the roller to the light stand. … »

Light Painting Primer

Often times, people have a hard time believing you can create this kind of stuff with out the one stop cure-all miracle known as Photoshop. The approach and methods for creating a light painting are very simple and straightforward. All right, so here’s the basic idea. What you need: A camera with a manual shutter speed, preferably bulb mode. Tripod Shutter release, I use the wireless canon rc-1. It has one button and an on/off switch. … »