Ground is Lava

Location: Mojave, CA | Settings: F5.6 / ISO 50 / 215 second exposure

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For this shot I wanted to stay away from the spectral look that has seemed to dominate the end of my 2015 light-fossils. For the new year I'd like to focus more on specific color choices as well as adding in multi-layered light-elements.

For this shot of a Lambeosaurus Light-Fossil, I used an orange-tipped Night-Writer along with a flash of red from off-screen left and frame-right, held low to emphasize the cracked earth texture. Looks like lava to me :) 

One of the parts to this image that isn't very noticeable is the moon in top-center of the composition, just underneath the dinosaur. If I were to print this large, it would be more of a focal point.

The most distinctive feature to the Lambeosaurus dinosaur is it's cranial crest, which is mostly hollow. Educated guessers think that the cranial crest could have functioned as part snorkeling device,  for communication purposes, and for distinctions between species and sexes. 

Here's a cool link I posted before about how a Parasaurolophus might have sounded like (based off a 3d printed skull with air blown through the nasal cavity, I'd imagine the Lambeosaurus to sound a bit like this.

Check out my full collection of Light-Fossils in the Gallery below:

Flow

Location: Rainbow Basin

flow

Today's post is short and sweet - it's all about FLOW when using the Night-Writer light-pen (or any LED light for that matter).

I captured a quick time-lapse of myself drawing an Allosaurus Light Fossil the last time I was out to illustrate this quick pointer - making complicated figures (like a dinosaur skeleton) is a process of building out simple shapes to form a larger figure - following the flow from start to finish and never back-tracking.

I always start with the skull and make my way down the dinosaur's body, branching off in fragments for the arms and legs, then ending at the tail (as you can see in the animated .gif above).

By side-stepping and drawing one piece at a time, I'm able to think about what comes next rather than stopping in the middle and going back to where I was - thus throwing off concentration and making it nearly impossible to find the same spot again.

 

 

Allosaurus in the Basin

Location: Rainbow Basin - Barstow, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F7.1, ISO 100, 202 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

Gear: Canon 6DManfrotto Tripod24-70mm Lensremote shutter, and Night-Writer with diffused white-tip.

Deep within Rainbow Basin, a ridge-line carves across the edge of the hillside. A new Light Fossil walks beneath.

blue hour in the basin

An interesting place in terms of geology - colorful layers to be seen on all the hillsides.

This spot is difficult to get to if traveling by car - 4wd recommended! Huge rocks toward the last third of the loop, we had to turn back in our sedan for fear of getting stuck.

A closer look at one of the most colorful formations. If you're ever headed from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, you might want to stop here if you have a higher clearance vehicle - it's worth a look.

See the full collection of Light Fossil:

Sedona Stegosaurus

Location: Sedona, AZ / Settings: F.9, ISO 100, 320 seconds

For a shot like this, you'll need a good pair of mostly dark-colored water shoes. After a few unnecessary scrapes and slips you will understand why - I use mine often and I'm always glad to have them on hand for situations like this.

I used a Canon 6D for this shot along with my 24-70mm lens, Manfrotto 190x tripodRemote shutter release and Night-Writer light-pen.

The main challenge here was lining up the shot and getting the colorful sail in the right place - which took a few attempts. I wanted the full reflection in view, so I placed the tripod and camera up as tall as it could go about 25 feet out from my new light-fossil - smack dab in oak creek.

Mammoth in Tundra

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, CO / Settings: F.14, ISO 100, 250 seconds

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

On a recent trip out to Denver Colorado, Astrobandit and I took the short drive out to Rocky Mountain National Park.

The views were wild and beautiful everywhere we looked, but I took special note of the Tundra section of the park - an area of extremely high elevation, unique flora, and very cold temperatures at night (even during the summer months).

For this spot, I wanted to try another light-fossil - I've been on a rainbow-skeleton kick lately and needed a Mammoth in the mix. At around 40 degrees just after sunset with nothing more than a long sleeved shirt, I was happy to get this one first try - the next attempt resulted in a dying battery to my prototype light-pen. 

Staying in Denver was awesome, I was surprised how many great breweries were out there, we had an incredible sour beer that used a colorful sticker-label on blank cans that looked a lot like the cover to this old nintendo T&C surf game:

Special thanks to Jerrico and Michael for letting us stay with them, we will have to visit again in another month or so to see the changing color of leaves - the alpine trees can really give you a show.

I took this last shot at sunrise from the City Park. Another location for my Postcard Project series.

Rainbow Raptor

Location: Buffalo, NY / Settings: F.8, ISO 100, 237 seconds

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

Scouting locations like this in the day is a good idea, I try to do it whenever possible - It's not safe any other way, you should get well acquainted with your location before shooting it in the dark.

This can be the difference between a light-noob and a light-ninja. 

For this shot I knew the location already, a decrepit historic building on the East Side of Buffalo - a perfect spot for my Rainbow Raptor.

I'd prefer to go with someone else for safety purposes, but went alone because I was picking my brother up from the airport an hour later.. That was before the lightning storm hit and his plane was delayed 3 hours.

During this shoot the rain began falling through broken windows and lightning struck in the distance to the left of the building. I didn't stay long.

Click here to see more Light-Fossils.

Prowler

Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, CO / Settings: (Composite) Light-art at F16, ISO 100, 165 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

Gear: Canon 6DRokinon 14mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release, and Proto Night-Writer.

The last thing you want to happen in the Rocky Mountains is for your car battery to die (and not have jumper cables) - at night the temperature at that elevation drops to the lower 40's quickly. 

I was able to flag down a truck with a flashlight and talk to a very nice couple who told me that they did not have jumper cables, but they could get ahold of the nearest ranger on their way out. They hooked us up a few hand-warmers before leaving, a really nice gesture. 

Thankfully, within the next 20 minutes, Ranger Walt showed up and jumped our car. I shot this image on our way out of the park with the engine running nearby, I would have loved to stay longer but did not want to push our luck!

Here's a view of the tundra earlier that day - this elk was enjoying the view:

Rainbow Rex

Location: White Mountains, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F16, ISO 100, 272 seconds. Cloudy surroundings at F2.8, ISO 1600, 15 seconds.

Gear: Canon 6DRokinon 14mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release, and Proto Night-Writer.

These type of multi-colored Light Fossils are probably the most difficult. I think the best one I have to date is this plesiosaur. I have tried many - but only these two are worth showing.

This dino was supposed to be blue and gold. Somewhere along the way it switched to a variety of other colors and I just went with it.

Part of light-art and photography in general is just getting out and exploring the world - to see and capture things that take a journey to be in the presence of. This was one of those places.

We stopped by this location earlier in the evening to scope out the landscape and to snap a picture of this horse that was feeding on some grass.

horse

When we got close it started to pose in an aggressive manner, so we took our cue and left it in peace. Later horse!

horsey

Parasaurolophus Crossing

Location: Route 66 near Bagdad, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F16, ISO 100, 266 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

Gear: Canon 6DRokinon 14mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and Night-Writer with Yellow Color-tip.

A train speeds by as the ancient being lumbers over asphalt, the stars above remain seemingly unchanged, a sole connection to the past present and future.

Check out this interesting video of what these actual dinosaurs may have sounded like.

View more dinosaurs made of light in the Light Fossils Gallery.

T. Rex in Bagdad

Location: Bagdad, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F11, ISO 100, 172 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

Gear: Canon 6DRokinon 14mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and Night-Writer with Green Color-tip.

Astrobandit and I took Route 66 on a whim to see what we could find along the way to Needles, CA - some of that road didn't look like it has been maintained since the 1930's - it was like driving on a never-ending cheese-grater!

Late at night we passed a small ghost-town by the name of Bagdad, it had some interesting junk-cars and even junkier buildings, but there was a large yellow light coming from a construction company that blew-out the spot - not good for night-shooting.

Halfway between Siberia and Bagdad I stopped at this place because there was so little light-pollution and drew this T. Rex second take using my new color-tips for Night-Writer (which are available for purchase starting today)!

 

 

Blue Beachside Brontosaurus

Location: Point Dume - Malibu, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F8, ISO 100, 150 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

Info on how this shot was created:

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

I've been to this beach many times, but hadn't realized that this was the location they filmed the original Planet of the Apes scene with the post-apocalyptic looking statue of liberty.

It's a cool-looking place in person, and great beach, but difficult to shoot with all that moisture in the air! Bring a lens-wipe for sure, you will use it.

Interested in seeing more 'Light-Fossils'? Check out the Light-Fossils Gallery!

Have a question about how this image was captured? Check out my recently updated EDU page - dedicated to the education of light-art photography.

Rolling Bones

Location: El Mirage, CA / Settings: (Composite of 2 images) Skeletons at F8, ISO 100, 237 seconds. Skateboard & stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds. 

After researching a few dry lake beds, I soon realized it's the responsibility of every image-capturing human being to shoot an illusion where there's something that's usually small (but appears large) in the foreground and something that usually large (that appears small) in the background.

Just take a look at some of these images at the salt flats in Boliva for example. I wanted to put my own spin on that kind of photo.

Now run for your lives ;)

Tuojiangosaurus

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.

trail

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.

tafoni

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

Two-tone Styracosaurus

Location: Bodega Bay, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F8, ISO 100, 250 second exposure. Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

After illustrating so many different dinosaurs, I'm happy to have found a new way to do the same thing. The two-tone colors and the myriad combinations they present make me stoked on creating a new style of light-fossils.. Upping the ante a bit I hope! 

Initially, I came to this spot in Bodega Bay because of it's unique geographic features and sweet views down the coast:

bodega bay location

You've got the beach on one side, bay on the other and walking distance between both. 

It's good to have options, and I wasn't as impressed with this view of the beach as I was with the back-lit sand and grass in the direction I had just walked in from. The ambient light from a nearby campground's street-lights were casting a yellowish light on the beach, which you can see here:

bodega beach

To sum up my feelings of Bodega Bay - it was a quiet historic town on the water, and a great place for seafood. More to come from this location.

Two-tone Parasaurolophus

Location: Big Sur, CA / Settings: F7.1, ISO 100, 270 second exposure

I've recently turned 32 and wanted to commemorate the passing of time (as I've done for every birthday since 30), so I took a trip up the coast of California with my girlfriend Astrobandit - 540 miles from Los Angeles to Fort Bragg. I will be sharing images from my trip over the next few weeks, and here is the first at the Riverside campground in Big Sur, CA. That water was cold!

Tide-pools

Location: La Jolla, CA / Settings: F8, ISO 100, 196 second exposure

The texture at this spot in La Jolla, just south of the cove a few miles and popular tide-pools, reminds me of something you'd be looking at under a microscope rather than the life-size it is here.

It's interesting to see relations between the infinitely large and infinitely small, maybe we can learn something.

Another feature to this place is the abundance of tiny sea-snails, you can barely see them as small black specks surrounding the small pools. They were sharp enough to cut the bottom of my feet as I traversed the slick rock!