What made you want to become a photographer? / Did you always want to be a photographer? Or did you kind of fall into the passion?
I only got into photography about 6 years ago. I suddenly had a lot of free time and I had an old DSLR in the house. I knew nothing about how cameras worked but I started trying to take pictures of sunsets, and couldn’t work out how the sky was bright but the foreground was dark, so I started taking longer and longer exposures until it got dark, then I managed to walk in frame when the exposure was running while I was carrying a torch, The light trail was caught in the picture and something just clicked, I was addicted to light painting from that moment, I don’t really do any other type of photography.
Lightpainting is a bit different from normal photography as it's in the dark with really long exposures, I am in control of what I want in my picture as opposed to say landscape, for example, I illuminate what I want to, whether that be a ruin, a person or add light in the form of lasers/orbs or something like that, so the end result is an image that doesn’t actually exist but was created in that 5, 10 or 15 minutes or however long the shutter was open.
How and why are you using Lume Cube 2.0s in your work?
I mainly use Lume Cubes for light painting with a drone. A few years ago I was wondering about drawing stuff in the sky or using downlight to illuminate subjects from above. Drones were becoming cheaper and with better technology making them easier to fly, I soon stumbled on Lume Cube with the drone attachments. I knew that Lume Cube brackets designed for drones would be the safest way to add lighting equipment to the drone as opposed to strapping a torch or a light to it and risk damaging it, So I bought the cubes and brackets. Using downlight to illuminate a subject gives the picture a completely different feel to it from saying lighting that same subject from the ground.
Who are you inspired by?
Many, many people, When I first started out light painting I tried to meet up with as many other light painters as possible, to see what made them tick. I went to a light art convention in Spain and met many international artists I’m not very arty or anything like that but I would say it’s mainly other light painting artists that inspire me, too many to name but a lot of people have helped me on my way to what I am doing now…I’m very grateful to them.
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be instead?
I don’t class my self as a “photographer”, I just go out shooting stuff that I like, It's my hobby as I have a normal 9-5 job. But if I didn’t do the job I currently do I’d like to be a war correspondent, journalist/photographer.
If you could only shoot with one lens type, what would it be?
It would have to be a zoom, one of my main lenses is the Sigma 24-35 f2 art lens and I love it.
What is your go-to camera?
I’m currently using a Sony A7III.
You have done a ton of different effects with light over the years, why did you decide to not use editing software and photoshop as often as some other photographers?
When I first started, I was out every night, doing the same shots over and over again to get them how I wanted. I didn’t own any editing software, know how to use it or what it was capable of. For me it was creating an image I liked and having fun at the same time, getting it right in camera. I don’t want to go out, take what I think is a mediocre shot then go and sit in front of a computer for hours making adjustments, that to me just didn’t sound like fun.
I think with the addition of Photoshop to an image either adding stuff to the image or removing stuff takes it into a digital art category, I don’t want to do that, that’s not for me.
A lot of people assume that some light painting shots are digitally enhanced, or manipulated in some way using photoshop, I suppose that’s half the fun, if they believe I have used a computer to get my final image then that’s fine but as I haven’t it kind of makes me chuckle, The possibilities of light painting are endless so you don’t really need to use a computer.
For example, my ambassador profile picture is a single exposure tripod and lens swap. There are two locations in this photo. The exposure is 593 seconds iso 400. I have used myself to create the silhouette at location 1 using a flashgun to overexpose the wall behind me using a 50mm lens at f7.1, After firing the flash I then quickly capped the lens and moved to location two (The view you see inside my silhouette). I have removed the lens and replaced it with a 14mm manual lens with the cap on (Remember it's dark). Adjusted focus to the predetermined point and aperture to f6.3, I then uncapped the lens and used a torch to light the foreground and the tower before capping the lens again. I then sent the drone up and got it circling before uncapping the lens to let the light trails from the drone burn into the sensor. I then stopped the exposure and landed the drone.
Any advice to new photographers?
Have fun, that’s more important than “likes.”
What is the best part of your day?
When the sun sets.
Coffee or Tea?
Tea obviously…I’m English!
What is your favorite photo you’ve taken and why?
That’s a difficult one as I do have quite a few I like but if I had to choose one it would be one of my first. Its light trails around some stones at Woodhenge. It was a full moon on that night and I used a 5-minute exposure using the available moonlight to make it look like day.
What is your favorite thing about photography?
Travel and meet people
What is your least favorite thing about photography?
You have done a ton of light painting, what is one photography type/technique that you want to try next?
I really don’t know, I’m just enjoying traveling around photographing old ruins at night, I’ve been getting more into Astro recently, so I want to do a bit more of that.
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