For a long time now I’ve needed some way to photographically brain dump. I’ve needed some way to just get quiet with my camera and let my brain relax from the planning, the shooting, the editing, the business, and everything else that a portrait photographer deals with on the day to day. It’s not that I dislike any of it, but like most photographers, I have a really hard time turning it off, and on the rare occasion that I have been able to turn it off for a short time, my thought process has always been better for it. It’s as necessary as it is hard to do.
I love the outdoors, and I’m fortunate to live within a couple hours drive of some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth (the Rocky Mountains) but that trip becomes an all day excursion, as well as an area I don’t feel comfortable hiking by myself in the winter, and what I needed was something I could do solo and would only eat up a couple hours of time. Something that I could use to give my brain a little break from time to time without putting me out an entire day.
So tonight I went for a drive with a couple of key chain LED lights, a chunk of rope, my D800 w/ 24-70, a shutter release, and a tripod with the simple intentions of creating balls of light in whatever spots I could find within a 15 minute drive of my house. Just off a back road I found a downed fence that led into an old farm yard, and voila. The whole process was exactly what I was looking for. Quiet, unplanned, straight forward, relatively easy, and oddly fun and exciting when running back to the camera to see what had been created. It’s photographic therapy.
The balls of light themselves are created using absolutely zero photoshop , all I’ve done is cropped the image and adjusted some contrast. You can’t see me in the images because I am dressed in all black and constantly moving. You get the same effect when you photograph a car driving down the road at night with a long exposure, you’ll see the headlights but not the car. Being that I had never tried this before and it was basically an experiment, I only had one white LED, and one red LED, but I actually hit the white LED on one of the ladders attached to the bin while creating a ball, and shattered it into a few pieces, which is why the last two images were done in red. I do plan on picking up some other colors and trying them out to see what they look like, matching them to different environments.
So needless to say I found my brain dump. If you’ve been looking for one as long as I have, I recommend giving this a try. Cheers.