35mm Light-paintings

Location: Southwestern US

Title: Reflecting on a Sad Memory // Location: Joshua Tree, CA

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I've recently developed a roll of 35mm which I brought with me on a trip through the Southwestern US and some areas of the California Coast. 

I often keep a camera loaded with a roll of Portra 400 ISO in my bag and take it out on just the right occasions. It costs a few dollars per image just to get this thing developed and scanned, so I'm a bit conservative when it comes to shooting.

Usually, I take the 36 images per roll over a few months and by the time I actually fill it with long exposures, I've forgotten most of what I had captured to begin with. I like the surprise of it all, and you truly have no idea what you've captured for months. It's a very un-attached way of capturing images, and as I've mentioned before, the negatives for film do not lie in the way that digital photographs can (ie: photoshopping).

For this roll, it worked out very well. I'll tally this up to beginner's luck due to my first time shooting with the late 70's era Canon A-1 and it's 50mm lens, which produced some interesting reflections with the LED light entering and bouncing out of the camera. Overall, I really like the aesthetic and it brings a more organic feel to the media. The colors seem to seep into other tones and it gives the content another layer of character.

Title: Amethyst Dinosaur // Location: Dead Horse Point, UT

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For the shot above I mixed it up a bit and used a small Amethyst crystal that we bought at a rock shop in Moab, Utah in place of a color-tip for my Night-Writer. It had some strange and unintended color-effects on the landscape, taking blue hour straight into purple hour! The view at Dead Horse Point close to the entrance to Canyonlands National Park was an incredible backdrop to see in person, inspiring for sure!

Title: Endless Grind // Location: Monument Valley, UT

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I saw that handrail leading into the valley and couldn't get this image of a skateboarding skeleton grinding it out of my head.

The last rays of light were hitting the rail in an interesting way, highlighting the metal edge all the way into the distance through twists, turns, and kinks. Toward the end of the rail it looks like the material turns into a car's light and continues toward infinity. I felt like it was a good metaphor for riding out life's twists, turns, and kinks. 

Title: Best Buds // Location: Joshua Tree, CA

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Title: Goblin Slayer // Location: Goblin Valley, UT

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Title: False Kiva Hot Tub // Location: Canyonlands, UT

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Title: Rainbow Tree // Location: Angeles Crest, CA

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Title: Raven Rooster Mockingbird // Location: Santa Barbara, CA

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Title: Sharing a View // Location: Bryce Canyon, UT

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Title: Tree of Light (35mm) // Location: Santa Barbara, CA

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Title: Goombasaurus // Location: Valley of Fire, NV

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Thanks for viewing! If you'd like to check out more film light-paintings, you can see my entire film collection right here.

Goblin Valley

Location: Goblin Valley, Utah

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There's a place in Utah that looks like a Goblin kingdom due to its unique concentration of strange geological features called 'Hoodoos'.

Astrobandit and I took a road trip there recently (and other incredible locations that you will see soon). Here's a short vid I shot on my phone of us seeing it on arrival. This will give you a sense of space and how easy you could get lost in this weird and awesome place:

My LED tool of choice for the evening - the eldest current model of my Night-Writer, practically polished from use, basking in the last rays of light. Later I would lose this Night-Writer for the rest of the trip only to discover it in a bag weeks later. Thankfully, I always pack a few when I travel!

Here are some of the images I got the chance to light-paint during our night at Goblin Valley.

Let's start with introductions, say hello to Harry, Larry and Jerry:

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Delving deeper into the Goblin Kingdom, I brought out my old (Canon A-1) 35mm film camera for another light-painting featuring some Goblins. I call this one 'Goblin Slayer'. It would make a cool video game I think:

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I love the dynamic range of film! Look at that glow around the light-lines, and the way that light hits the rocks around our characters. 

I feel like the SOOC movement (straight out of camera photographers) should only shoot film if they are concerned with the purity of an image, for film by nature does not lie and cannot be manipulated in the way that digital can. It has a negative for record so you can see for a fact that it was unedited. Otherwise it's just one photographer's word against anothers.

After a bit of exploring in the dark, Astrobandit and I definitely got lost. With a new moon on a cloudy night, it was hard not to get lost in this goblin-riddled labyrinth! Luckily, after a few long exposures at high ISO in different directions, I made out the shape of a shade structure overlooking the valley. This gave me some insight as to where the hell we were in this massive Hoodoo labyrinth.

The next image I wanted to create was one with a caterpillar in it. I thought the hoodoos looked like mushrooms anyways, so it was a clear choice:

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The clouds parted briefly so I could get some stars in my image! Really happy with the way this one turned out :D

I lit the mushroom hoodoo by using a red LED light and my hand to block the lower portion of the light so that it only hit the top part of the rock. It took a few tries to get it just right!

Next up is a little NSFW but I thought it was funny, I'll end this post with a light-painted dick pic using a particularly phallic part of the environment:

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That's all for now, check back in a few days for a Southwestern light-tour update! Shine bright friends.

Horseshoes

Location: Horseshoe Bend, AZ / Settings: F11-2.8, ISO 200, 229 seconds

Another idea that had some time to develop - Spectral Stallion over Horseshoe Bend. 

I feel like I've been brainwashed by instagram into visiting this location - I see it in photos almost everyday. The hike out there before sunset felt like a modern pilgrimage.

This location was packed when we visited around sunset. You can't blame anyone for wanting to see this in person, Nature can put on quite a show. Be prepared for crowds.

horseshoe bend pano

Astrobandit and I brought a bottle of wine to share over sunset. We got these cool cups from a gem and rock store in Utah - Cheers from the edge.

For more light-fossils like my Spectral Stallion along with printing options, check the gallery:

Into the Valley of Fire

Location: Valley of Fire, NV / Settings: F7.1, ISO 50, 153 seconds

Recently returned from a road-trip into the heart of the Southwest - I have lots to share over the upcoming weeks! 

Let's start with Elephant Rock in the Valley of Fire, just North of Las Vegas, NV - about an hour by car from the city.

I've wanted to visit this place for a few years but the timing has never been right until this trip - I thought a mouse would compliment this ridiculous natural rock-formation!  

The full moon helped to light the environment from high above so you can get a feel for the rest of the park. I did my best to highlight the shadowed areas with red and blue gelled lights. For the mouse I used my trusty yellow color-tipped Night-Writer.

Here's an overview of this location in relation to the road and last parking lot as you leave the state park - I set up the camera close to my elephant-subject in order to keep the road from view in my main image - even though I really like the way the nearly full moon is lighting it up here.

elephant rock

One thing we did not expect was all the tarantulas crossing the roads on the way there.. I'd heard of friends tell me that there was a time of year this was common in the desert, but have never experienced it myself until this trip! Strange to see large furry spiders crossing the road and then thinking about sleeping in a tent so close to them all. Luckily, we survived.

road

I made sure to pick up and kick my camera bag anytime I left it on the ground for more than a few seconds on account of all the spider-bros. 

Here's a parting shot of my gang of colorful mice bullying the poor elephant rock - all color-tipped Night-Writer creations: I'm experimenting with a new 'pink' color-tip addition.

parting shot

More light-animals and printing options available in the Gallery below: