Welcome to Berlin

Location: Berlin, Germany

Here we are at Teufelsberg in Berlin, Germany on top of the only hill around for miles (or km if you're in Germany) it's not a natural hill, it's man-made from the the rubble and bombed buildings of WWII. There are a handful of old NSA spy towers that were abandoned after the cold war and that's where my teleporting skeleton zaps itself to the next destination.

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Up here in the towers you'll find a great spot to watch the sunset, perhaps drink a beer, see some interesting graffiti, and whistle a tune in the old towers that look like giant golf balls.

NSA Towers

If you want a killer sound system to listen to music while you're up there, a small bluetooth speaker like the one we brought will suffice - these massive interior spaces project sound like crazy when you go inside them. 

One of the coolest parts to Berlin, in my opinion, were all the abandoned buildings to explore - radio towers, water parks, hospitals, etc. I wish I had more time, I left feeling like I had only scratched the surface.

Some of the places were generally intact - the brick held up especially, but a few were burned down and mostly unusable, like this once-waterpark with broken glass and burned wood:

The art on the walls of this building were too cool not to give each light-skeleton their own room, I took this 441 second exposure I call "Full House" around blue hour.

Created using the whole jar of color-tips for my Night-Writer LED marker.

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The stairs in some of these buildings do not have any supports and look like they could fall at any moment. In certain buildings, the roofs and stairwell areas were already collapsed.

Walking around in the dark here was especially treacherous. 

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Now let's go up to the attic inside this partially burned down building and I'll share a new stegosaurus Light-Fossil that took me 180 seconds to draw. It's my last image I'll be sharing for a little while until next week's post.

Title: A Noise in the Attic

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Thanks for reading, and stay bright!

 

 

Light-Walker

Location: Badwater Basin - Death Valley, CA / Settings: F5.6, ISO 50, 110 seconds per frame

Here we are at Badwater Basin in Death Valley, CA - night just fell, and you can see how windy it is by the amount of dust blowing in the distance behind our spectral light-skeleton above.

My goal was to make the skeleton walk - and have the light reflected on the puddles below. To do this, it requires a bit of pre-planning. I had my friend Craig shoot a few reference images at our campsite earlier that day - I glanced at these for every new frame to get the motion correct:

It's a bit jerky, but I think the overall goal was met - I was happy to get the hell out of those 40mph winds!

Here's a view of what Badwater Basin looked like just the day before - the winds blew nearly all that water away in less than 24 hours:

For a look at some more finished animation work, check out the Video section.

Ride the Fire Wave

Location: Valley of Fire, NV / Settings: F6.3, ISO 50, 206 seconds

Had this idea for a little while, so here we are at the Fire Wave - a very similar phenomenon to it's more famous cousin the Wave in AZ - but with snazzy white stripes.

Here we have Shiny-bones casually shredding the gnar with a frontside ride on his pink swallow tail board.

The biggest challenge with shooting this location was the perspective - I really wanted a physically surfable wave. Fire Wave is a 35ft basin with a kidney-shape and a deep end. It took some near light-art along with far-away perspective from a wide angle lens to capture the effect correctly. I felt like I was drawing at a wonky angle and had a lot of trouble getting things to line-up - some brain trickery going on there!

Here is a visual of my vertical camera's perspective from the side:

perspective

I found this little scorpion when we were out at night - he was hiding among the many crevices in and around the layered sandstone. Valley of Fire has a lot of little critters to be careful for - Rattlesnakes, Scorpions, Bats, and Tarantulas to name a few. A good check around where you leave your bag will give you piece of mind (don't leave any pockets open either) - just be sure to do a quick light-up around the area whenever you reach for somewhere you can't see.

scorpion

Here's Astrobandit and I checking out the view after checking out for critters.

fire wave at night

More light-skeletons and printing options can be found in the Gallery below:

Embryonic - (Collaboration with Eric Pare)

Location: Los Angeles, CA / Settings: (Composite) Circle at F4.5, ISO 1600 3 seconds. Skeleton at F5.6, ISO 100, 59 seconds.

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting up with fellow light-artist Eric Pare along with professional dancer Kim Henry - I've been familiar with Eric's work for some time now and it was great to collaborate on some images together.

There will be more to come next week, but I couldn't resist putting together this photo before the weekend - two very different light-styles you don't often see together in the same image.

Out for Blood

Location: Rainbow Basin - Barstow, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F6.3, ISO 100, 163 seconds. Super Blood Moon at F6.3, ISO 3200, 6 seconds.

Gear: Canon 6DManfrotto Tripod24-70mm Lensremote shutter, and proto Night-Writer.

Last one from the Super Blood Moon - promise.

I just had to get in a light-skeleton on this momentous occasion. The next time a super blood moon comes around, I will be 50 years old.

If you do plan on shooting an event like this, here are a few tips I've learned from my own efforts:

1) Plan ahead - I wanted an interesting location, so I used Google's satellite-view map to find a cool layered geological locale a few hours out from Los Angeles.

2) Pack your bags - Make sure you have all the gear you need to make the shot happen - telephoto lens, remote shutter, tripod, LED lights, all that and a bag of chips or apples (if you get hungry). Water also - that's an important one in the desert!

3) Show up early - Getting there while it's still light out is crucial - Scout around the location and take pics on your phone for reference later when it's pitch-black out and you are scrambling to get the right angle.

Check out the full collection of Light-Skeletons below:

Tesla's Spark

Location: Niagra, ON - Canada / Settings: F8, ISO 100, 108 seconds

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

Exploring Niagra Falls late at night I've come to a few realizations:

1) In the tourist season, it is never un-occupied - even at 3am I saw people with their kids in tow out for a stroll.. Strange to see, but who knows - they could have gotten in from a late flight and been on a completely different time schedule than you or I. The Falls are just as beautiful at night, and the crowds are certainly less like the circus you would see in the day.

2) The falls makes it's own weather - with all that water misting up a storm, you can bet on using your windshield wipers often.

3) It's a place that must be visited -  the sheer power and force of nature is awe-inspiring. The Canadian side is best - Horseshoe Falls all the way. American side is cool too, but right now it's under construction for the next year; visit Canada, it's awesome.

I think one of the most intriguing human aspects of this natural wonder is the idea to harness the power of the falls to create electricity - Nikola Tesla. While I was driving out of the parking lot to Horseshoe falls, I had to stop that this old building and draw a skeleton dedicated to the one of the most important figures the last century - his achievements in electricity had an immeasurable impact on the future of technology.

Niagra Falls

3,160 tons of water flows over Niagra Falls every second - Nikola Tesla put this natural power to use.

Niagra Mist

Mist from Niagra Falls covers the area for many miles (or kilometers depending on who you ask). 

Why did the light-skeleton cross the road?

Location: PCH - Big Sur, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F8, ISO 100, 51 seconds. Stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

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

'He had a bone to pick' - *ba dum tss*

On a real note - this is not a smart thing to do.

I'm pretty quick at illustrating skeletons and this road goes on forever in both directions, so I'm minimizing my risks a bit, but it's still not smart to light-paint in middle of the road - you could end up like my light-skeleton.

Bury the Hatchet

bury the hatchet

Quick collab post I did a while back with UK photographer Dan Whitaker. Thought it was appropriate today! Here's a link to the unedited version of this photo - I took certain liberties to fill in the wave :)

Dan Whitaker used a digital light-wand to create the waves here back in 2013. This was a few years before the pixel-stick came out, and Dan had used Michael Ross's tutorial to help him create it.

Texas-based photographer/light-artist Michael Ross was the original inventor to this tech, it's crazy to see his idea so wide-spread these days! I think people should know that he was the original inventor of this tech tool.

Happy Independence Day!

Light-paint a skeleton (step by step tutorial vid)

Location: Mt. Pinos - Frazier Park, CA

Here it is, a little how-to video on the subject of light-skeletons - I've been asked, and the idea of other people illustrating their very own skeletons with light makes me pretty damn amped!

Good luck out there with your creations! Please share them with me if you think you've got a good one - If you're on instagram, you can tag me @dariustwin - otherwise, email works ok too.

To learn more about light-art photography, you can visit my new EDU page devoted toward the education of light-art photography.

Circle of Life

Location: Lizard's Mouth - Santa Barbara, CA / Settings: F9, ISO 100, 137 seconds

Info on how this shot was created:

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

For the newest addition to my Skeletons gallery, I needed just the right spot - where could I find a 'pride rock' looking area?

Luckily, my sister lives fairly close to a popular bouldering area in Santa Barbara called Lizard's Mouth trail, leading up to a familiar-looking rock with a spectacular view of the California coast. It's a little less precarious as this similar viewpoint in San Diego that I used for my 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' post. 

Blowing off steam

Location: Columbia, MO / Settings: F8, ISO 100, 138 seconds

Info on how this shot was created:

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

This night had a very bright full moon and I wanted to take advantage of steam generated from this nearby power-plant, so I walked down a path by the creek until the moon was hiding just behind all the steam.

The vacant bench with steam above had to have the Lionel Richie pose

In other news, I've updated stock for the Night-Writer light-pen (the LED tool I used to illustrate the photo above). 

 

Singer-songwriter

Location: Frazier Park, CA / Settings: (19 shots at) F8, ISO 100, 128 second exposures

Info on how this shot was created:

Gear: Canon 6D24-70mm LensManfrotto TripodRemote Shutter-release and Light-pen.

This place was freezing cold at an elevation of around 9,000 ft. Due to the full moon you can clearly see the way light is cast through the tree-tops and onto my foot-tapping soloist below.

This short animation took about 2 hours to draw.

PSA: Don't Play with Fire

Location: Salton Sea, CA / Settings: F9, ISO 100, 214 seconds

Info on how this shot was created:

Gear: Canon 6D, 24-70mm Lens, Manfrotto Tripod, and Remote Shutter-release.

I wanted to create a smoking effect along with a bit of fire coming from a skeleton holding a match - so I used white el wire for the smoke, a red sparkler for the fire, and whitered, and orange LEDs for my character and match. 

Some insight on the image:

This is a more serious topic than usual - it's June now and the fire season in Southern California is about to kick off shortly. In light of the 2007 fires in San Diego and 2009 fires in Los Angeles, please try and be extra careful out there with cigarettes, campfires, and fireworks. Here's some images if you need a reason:

harris fire over mount miguel

Harris Fire in San Diego, CA - October 2007 (not shot by me - found on wikipedia)

station fire 2009

Station Fire in Los Angeles, CA - August 2009 - I shot this image from a rooftop in downtown Los Angeles of a mushroom cloud rising North East over the San Gabriel mountains. Note the 747 airplane to the bottom left of the cloud for scale! 

Nude Ascending a Staircase

Location: Salton Sea, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F8, ISO 100, 91 seconds. Colors at F5.6, ISO 1250, 45 seconds.

Info on how this shot was created:

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

I checked out this staircase during the day and it was sturdy enough to not crumble then - It seems as though it may at any moment.

Most of the buildings in this section of the Salton Sea are ragged signs of the past, decaying into the future.

Mountain weather

Location: Mt. Wilson - Los Angeles, CA / Settings: F6.3, ISO 200, 141 seconds

Hobo Baggins is at it again - up in the clouds this time! He hikes with a goal firm in mind - to see the jewel of the day - a sunset.

At a height of 5,712 feet, (or 1741 meters) he is happy to catch the sun fading away beyond clouds in the distance as the city below prepares for night.

The adventures of Hobo Baggins - Volume I

Hobo Baggins sets off on the journey of his after-life without a penny to his name.

After scoring a ride with a lonesome trucker, Hobo Baggins gets dropped off on the wrong side of the tracks in an industrial section of Los Angeles. The trucker was kind enough to share a smoke and point him in the right direction. Hobo takes one last look back into the dark and begins a long walk towards the light.

downtown railroad

After following the tracks for hundreds of miles up the coast of California, Hobo arrives in Portland, Oregon in a much better state of mind.

portland tracks

Continuing his journey into the woods with a pair of red boots he picked up in Portland, Hobo Baggins is inspired and in awe of the natural beauty that surrounds him.

After months on the road, Hobo arrives in Ojai, CA on an olive orchard, transformed and enlightened by his travel experiences. 

Psychedelic Coast

Location: Big Sur, CA / Settings: F5.6, ISO 100, 215 seconds

This is by far the coolest tent I've ever slept the night in. I felt like I had to do the psychedelic vibe of it justice with a colorful prism style light-painting.  

The Devil's Brick

This image is based on a dream I had where I was walking on a beach and there was a sudden Tsunami, everyone starts running from the crashing waves and as I start running, a girl with a worried look shoves a bag to my chest. I look inside the bag for an instant to see a glowing red brick - hot like coals. I quickly bury the bag in sand and look up to see a charred man with cracks of glowing red on his skin in a suit looking down at me - he says 'I believe you have something of mine'.. I reply ' I believe you are mistaken' and then wake up. 

Distant Lights

Shiny-bone jones under starry skies at glass beach.

For the Birds

Location: Bodega Bay, CA / Settings: (Composite) Light art at F8, ISO 100, 456 second exposure, stars at F2.8, ISO 3200, 15 seconds.

What trip up the coast of California can be complete without a look at one of the most iconic horror-film locations?

This historic schoolhouse in Bodega Bay used by Alfred Hitchcock in 'The Birds' was one of the places I thought my light-skeletons just had to visit.. Here they are with a few unwanted guests invading their group photo. 

Still made it to the church on time.

In Living Color

Location: Tree Tunnel - Point Reyes, CA / Settings: F3.5, ISO 800, 119 second exposure

This is one of those places every photographer wants to visit, and so many have already at different times of the day, dusk, dawn, and in the fog. 

However, when researching it - I hadn't seen a single photo of the tree tunnel at night - what a shame I thought! So, here's one.

Special thanks to the Ranger who parked his truck behind my camera and left his brake-lights on long enough to illuminate the long tunnel of trees with the brilliant red glow you see here. 

Drunk Boots

Location: Red Rock Canyon, CA / Settings: F8, ISO 100, 231 second exposure

Any man of age or not knows the best way to find their way home without remembering how they got there is to put on their drunk boots. It's like a compass of sorts where inebriated intuition takes hold and with any luck you will end up at home - across town or across the desert onto your neighbor's lawn. It won't be pretty, but drunk boots will get you home every time.