Back at the Ranch

Location: Mojave Desert, CA | Settings: F5.6 / ISO 50 / 703 seconds

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Here we are in the Mojave Desert around 10pm last night, it was 30 degrees outside, quite chilly for Southern California! This shot took almost 12 minutes to create using Night-Writer and color tips. 

In light of this location being so close to a main road, passing headlights were a constant concern. So I did what any long exposure photographer would do in this situation, I capped the lens every time a car drove by with it's high beams. You can see how many time I capped the lens by taking a closer look at the star trails:


This technique is popular amongst advanced light-art photographers. If used creatively, it can result in some mind-bending imagery. Check out my friend Dana Maltby's work for an idea of what can be achieved by lens-capping and having another tripod handy. Here's another great creative set of len-swaps by James de Luna.

For more light-skeletons, check out the full collection below:

River Dance

Location: Los Angeles, CA / Settings: F6.3, ISO 100, 471 second exposure.

Gear used: Canon 6D, 24-70mm Lens, Manfrotto Tripod, Remote Shutter, and prototype Night-Writer.

The most important advice I have to give about water and light-painting is that you have to get in it to get the shot.. Do what you need to do, but realize you will be getting wet.

For this kind of photo, being in Los Angeles, and all the reasons that our river water is not as clean as say Denver's right next to the Rocky Mountains, I would recommend a pair of these black rubber boots if you plan a similar shot.

For less polluted waters, you can probably go with a black pair of water-shoes instead.

Check out my ever-growing collection of Light-Skeletons on the image link below:

Great light shark

Location: Los Angeles, CA / Settings: F16, ISO 100, 53 seconds

Gear: Canon 6D,  24-70mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and blue-tipped Night-Writer.

For a shot like this, it's as easy as turning out all the lights in your room and bumping the Fstop up to 16 at ISO 100 - use the 'bulb-mode' camera setting for a leisurely illustration pace.

I've been testing out some of my new Night-Writer color-tips this week and I like the way the colors are working out - I may release them as soon as next week.

An added bonus is the texture that it adds to higher F-stop images like my light-shark above! Looking forward to making more texture-focused tips for the light-pen in the near-future.

Here's a looks at all of the different colors together - they will come in packs of 6 - ROYGBV.

Family Portrait

Location: Hwy 2 Angeles Crest - Los Angeles, CA / Settings: F9, ISO 100, 666 seconds

Info on how this shot was created:

Gear: Canon 6D,  24-70mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and prototype Night-Writer.

This is the first colorful skeleton group that I've started to think about each skeleton's character.. The red one is the devil (noted by the horns), the yellow is super-happy (smiling, hands up), some of the other's I'm not sure just yet, but they will come to me eventually.

I don't pay much attention to exposure times, but this one was a bit weird. Whenever I illustrate the devil, it seems like the numbers start to turn into 6's.. I guess you could plan that if you wanted to, but it was not planned here.

On another note, gay marriage is legal in the US as of today, so congrats to anyone who was hoping to tie the knot and couldn't before today!


Location: Pfeiffer Beach - Big Sur, CA / Settings: F8, ISO 100, 564 seconds

Info on how this shot was created:

Gear: Canon 6D,  24-70mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and prototype Night-Writer.

After the 6 hour drive, camp set-up, dinner and drinks, and campfire session til midnight, it was hard to find the motivation to go out on a cloudy night in the hopes of seeing stars on a new moon.

During the short hike to this pond in pitch dark, I surrendered to the now familiar tired and delirious state - the shot I had in mind was not possible, it depended on the weather, and the weather was crap!

I took one shot as a consolation attempt, I was in the right place, just not the right time. With all the effort it took to get there, why not finish strong before calling it a night? Sometimes, magic can be made in the most delirious state of mind. 

This is what all light-art photographers are out there shooting for - that one shot where you just know it all came together somehow, and now it's in the back of your camera in vivid detail. 

I shoot a lot of photos, and it's very rare to hit the KO punches - here's one :D