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on Feb 27, 2014 in Landscape Photography

Light Painting in the Desert


It’s a natural, when you’re in the desert and it’s night, to look up and be amazed by the heavens. And when you’re a photographer, you just gotta photograph them. What I term heavenly body photography, using the quality and connivence of our digital cameras it’s pretty easy to make stunning photos. So while in Arches, I went about doing just that. The process I use is pretty simple. First I go for the baseline exposure for just the stars. You see that above. The bright spot which one might think is the moon coming up is an oil well way off in the distance.


Then I turned the camera so now the lights of Moab are off in the distance on the left. It’s at this point I brought out the 2mil light. Now I have to admit I’d not light painted in years and years and while I use to do it alot back in the day, I’m about as rusty as can be now. But I do like the story being told in the photo which is a combination of star light, city light and flashlight.


But the main photo I wanted this evening was that of Balanced Rock. Shooting with the Df, 24f1.4AFS and triggering the system with the Vello CAMERA REMOTE, I went to work painting. Now I wish, really wish I could tell you that what you see is from one photo, but it’s not. The star field is one photo but Balanced Rock is a combination of three lighting painting attempts. What I did was to not follow one of my own precepts, practice! In this case, my painting was just to linear and not painterly enough to create the effect I was after. Just blasting with the light isn’t the goal, neither is what I did. That’s why you practice. But I can tell you that simply spending ours under these skies even if not one photo was created is more than worth the time!