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.


Today's post is a little different from most of my regular posts. I'm launching a hand-made product called the 'Night-Writer' - it's the tool I use when illustrating with light.

Anyone can buy a flashlight, keychain LED, laser-pointer, etc - and you can paint with light that way too - This is more of a precision tool for illustrators that are serious about light-art.

I've made a small batch of ten lights for sale here right now, I'll make more once they sell out - they're all dated, numbered and signed.

Takes 2-AAA batteries, and comes with a 1-year warranty (shipping paid by customer).

I also did some interesting experiments with a few select models, like this one that glows (below). Most are white plastic material under the ink-black exterior, but some glow, some are red, some orange, one is purple.. Haven't made a blue one yet, but I will eventually.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Location: Potato chip rock - San Diego, CA / Settings: F22, ISO 100, 238 seconds

Gear: Canon 6D24-70mm LensManfrotto Tripod, and Remote Shutter-release.

'This place is just as sketchy as it looks in the photos' - that was my initial thought upon first visit.

From the first time I laid eyes on this place through someone else's photo, I thought it looked familiar - anyone growing up with Shel Silverstein's poems and illustrations in their youth could never forget his book cover 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' - in fact, if you research the title, you can't help but find many tattoos of the iconic deceased writer/illustrator's work.

It always struck a chord with me due to it's clever, raw, precarious, humorous yet hopeful perspective - a rare balance to find in creative work!

If you think the 7 mile hike with an elevation gain of around 1700 ft would deter some crowds, think again - Astrobandit waited in line for a chance to shoot her image - it took about 20 minutes - lots of selfie-sticks :P


We waited until dusk to shoot some blue-hour images and then hiked back in the dark. As you can see in this image, the rock really does just drop off into nothing.

If you do choose to make the trek out to potato chip rock - make sure to bring plenty of water, as many hiking websites will advise - the trail doesn't have much shade and would be difficult in the summer heat!

Killer Cake

Location: Mt Pinos - Frazier Park, CA / Settings: F7.1, ISO 200, 153 second exposure

If driving into the mountains and hiking into the forest to freeze your ass off in the pale moonlight holding a machete and illustrating cake is your idea of a good time, then you are a prime candidate for light-painting photography! 

Just make sure to bring your long-underwear for that 38 degree 8800 ft altitude.

killer cake sketch

It always helps to sketch out the idea on paper before tackling it in real life. I was going to illustrate a regular cake, but making it a killer-cake just seemed like the right thing to do.


Location: Salt Point State Park, CA / Settings: F8, ISO 200, 271 second exposure

This location was interesting because of the combination of sandstone and tafoni formations that scattered the coastline. After scouting around during the day (photos below) I tried to go back and shoot it at night. Unfortunately, it started to rain and most of the spots I wanted to hit were miles away. 

I took a chance and ran out to the first formations I could find and did the quickest light fossil I've ever done just as it began to really pour down. Happy to get this one in! Will have to look for a good all-weather solution to my photography.. A little rain is a crappy reason to put away gear.


Here is the beautiful hiking trail.

alien coast

The rocky coast formations go on for a few miles. Apparently this sandstone was used to create the streets and buildings in San Francisco during the 1800's.


Close-up of tafoni. Here's a link to the park's website in case you'd like to check it out for yourself.