September 9th, 2011

Outlook LOdge - Painted in Light

I was going to wait to post this until after the weekend, but didn't really want to wait.
Who knows, maybe someone here will even want to try this out over the weekend, as it needs to be done later at night...

*Double-posted in the AbandonedPlaces community*

Turns out a lot can be done with just three cheap flashlights, some colored cellophane, and adequate patience. Oh, and a decent coating of bug spray...
Honestly, this small set of images was just the trial-run for a concept which I had been playing around with in my mind for a while now.
Most people who are familiar with low-light photography are also familiar with a technique often referred to as “painting with light”.
In essence what that entails is setting the camera's shutter to remain open for a prolonged period of time, during that time-frame the desired subject is illuminated with
a constantly moving beam of light (typically a flashlight). Since the beam is in constant motion it never stays in one place long enough to generate a hot spot of light in the image.
If all goes well (which sometimes takes several attempts), you come away with an image of something that is adequately and evenly exposed, with no obvious light source visible.
Below is a simple example of what I described above, done at the old Rutherford Stuyvesant Estate

My experiment was to take the whole concept of light “painting” and try to make it more literal by adding colors to the equation.
Much as one paints upon a canvas, in theory when one crosses multiple colored light paths, or “paints” over the same area in multiple colors, the resulting hue will be
a mixture of the colors involved. My local craft store only carries red, blue, and yellow cellophane... so I had to make due with what was available.
I was very much hoping for red, blue, and green, as they are the three primary transmitted-light colors from which all colors can be made.
Before you say it – I did try to make green out of overlapping a piece of blue and yellow cellophane, however the tiny flashlight bulb was too weak to shine through that much material.
No matter though, as the focus of this outing was purely an experimental one. For any future “light painting”, I plan to have green light at my disposal.

A short (and washed out due to a recent hurricane) hike to a hilltop found myself and my friend face-to-face with the Outlook Lodge and its creepy owl carving.
Eerie as I find this place during the day, it is far worse in the dark of the night. I was quite happy that my friend was able to come out with me, given the late hour and short notice.
Aside from offering moral support against that awful owl, having a companion along to assist with the “painting” made things much easier.
I'm pretty happy with how these images turned out, especially considering I was going into this shoot totally blind as far as a plan or even expectations.
I fully plan to do more of this style thing in the coming months, but until then I hope some enjoyment can be found in my first attempt...

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