May 7, 2013

Painting with Light


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It is entirely possible that sleep depravation is clouding my judgement here, but shooting these images might be the the most fun I’ve ever had.

The seven of us set out for Delicate Arch that night intending to weather the storm of tourists through sunset, then try our hand at light painting the arch after it got dark.

Rick Louie was the mastermind. He brought along the industrial sized flashlight with enough candle power to light the arch from the next county. But for the first part of the night, we wouldn’t need it.

While most of us were fighting tourists at the top of the bowl, Justin Balog ran into legendary Sports Photographer, Dave Black, at the base. Dave was conducting a three day Photo Workshop and we stumbled upon his light painting session. Justin told him we were planning the same thing. Dave kindly invited us to sit in on his session.

We clamored to the base of the bowl and set up shop, respectfully keeping our distance from Dave’s class. As darkness enveloped Delicate Arch, Dave started barking out camera settings from above. He shouted the command, “OPEN!” and uniformly, about 30 shutters opened for a 30 second exposure as Dave “painted” the Arch in white and red light. After repeating that process a few times, we were done. Except we weren’t.

Rick Louie never got to use his mega light. He was still on a mission to conduct his own light painting session. So Rick made an executive decision to light paint Double Arch. We dutifully obeyed.

Even at that late hour, we weren’t alone. As we approached the arch with flashlights blazing, we almost managed to photobomb a couples’ long exposure.

After they wrapped up, we gingerly set up shop. With virtually no sleep over the past 24 hours, we were operating on pure adrenaline. A season ending injury was only a misstep away. Not to mention the possibility of knocking over someone else’s rig in the dark — an unforgivable offense!

Once settled, we got to work.

Chris Nitz had the honor of painting the arches with light. And he worked that light sabre like a Jedi Master.

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  1. Wow, these are both spectacular!! What an amazing place to paint with light–and I know these photos probably don’t even do the landscape justice (though I must say, I can’t imagine a better example!) 🙂

  2. Great images, Bob. That was a truly epic day of photography, starting at 4:15am and ending at 12:30am the next day. To date, this is the only time I’ve ever exhausted the batteries on the D700 (and that’s with the external battery grip and a fully charged internal battery).

    You can find my Double Arch shot in the CommentLuv link here.

  3. Wonderful images, Bob. I am truly envious of your group, the experiences you had and the fantastic shots like these two that you captured.

  4. I’m jealous of your Double Arches shot, but also glad somebody made good use of the opportunity. I still have trouble remembering everything that we fit into that single day.