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!

 

 

Canyonlands National Park

Location: Canyonlands, Utah

Title: Spectral Brontosaurus Takes a Walk

Here's something new and never been done in the animation department. It's all about pushing that bar a little further in regards to the ever-changing media that is light-art.

I've included my frame by frame photos below - this compositing technique is similar to what I've described before in my blog with combining two images together to create a type of HDR-style light-painting.

I first take a timelapse of the milky way at a very high ISO and open aperture, then do the animating at a very low ISO in 'bulb mode' and a mostly closed aperture. In post-production, I combine the two images together and *PRESTO* you have a galactic light-fossil in motion.

Let's move on to the incredible place that is Canyonlands National Park! Here's an overview from Grand View Point during the day, the same location I chose to shoot my dinosaur animation at night:

My girlfriend Astro Bandit and I had a great time visiting the area, going on a few hikes and seeing the park at night. Check out that Milky Way, it doesn't get much better than that:

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In terms of hikes, you've got a few amazing options, one of which is to 'False Kiva'. A place of unknown origin that is a bit hard to get to if you're not sure where to look, there are no signs for it, and the location is being studied to determine how old it is (could be ancient).

I did a bit of research before hand and was able to make the trek out this iconic Southwestern US location. Doing the hike at dusk was a bit of a relief from the intense heat during the day, but even at night the temperature was around 85 degrees. Not so good for camera sensors as you can see from the quite noisey pano below. I bounced a light off the rock behind me to cast some light on the large kiva structure:

false kiva

Of course we had to do a bit of light-painting in the center of the kiva. I brought out some Light-Painting Brushes to try some angel-wings on Jordan standing in the middle of the kiva. Special thanks to Astro Bandit for managing the difficult hike out here in that dress:

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One last thing worth noting is how close Canyonlands is to Arches National Park, the two are practically neighbors, with Dead Horse Point state park in the middle. All three places are unique and incredible, if you visit Moab Utah, I encourage you to stop by all three for yourself.

Here's a view of Balanced Rock in Arches National Park that I did not post in my last blog on Arches, I figured I could throw it in here for the ender. Thanks for reading and feel free to share!

Allosaurus Crossing

Location: Hales Grove, CA | Settings: F5.6 / ISO 50 / 281 seconds

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I'm happy to add a new Allosaurus to my Light-fossils collection, one of my favorite dinosaurs. This theropod lived about 150 million years ago (before the T.rex at ~ 67 million years ago), was around 30 feet in length, had serrated teeth, and was a carnivorous predator at the top of the foodchain.

This bridge was a pretty sketchy place in the dark. There were leaves and debris that had built up in gaps between each of the wooden planks, any of which could have broken an ankle if you weren't careful. You can't see it, but there is a creek about 9 ft below the bridge, I thought a troll would emerge any second.

The rain had lightened up for a little bit and I got this one shot before it started to pour again. It poured for the next two days straight.

For more light-fossils, check the gallery below:


Spectrodactyl

Location: Grand Canyon, AZ / Settings: F8, ISO 200, 218 seconds

A new edition to the Light-Fossils series - this colorful pterodactyl did not come easy.

However, where there is a will, there is a way - let's go through the process starting with the first attempt:

cartoon pterodactyl

I started with a brief gestural drawing using the Night-Writer without colors.. A bit cartoonish, but fun to play with the placement of where I wanted my more colorful creation to be.

After getting the composition where I wanted it, I was ready to proceed to the next step - drawing the flying dinosaur with white light - I may have added a crumpled receipt into the recessed tip of the Night-Writer just to try and diffuse the bright white light here - that's why the light is just a bit yellowish.

pterodactyl 2

The pieces were not exactly coming together the way I wanted, but I was ready at this point to move on toward using a bunch of colors for the next attempt - luckily, this move paid off and I got the shot without falling into the Grand Canyon. The full moon helped me in this regard, I would be very careful on a dark night - there are no guard rails.

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