To the question how to do it like boss in photography? Darren Pearson aka Darius Twin takes it to the next level achieving stunning results creating LED Lightpainting photography during his travels.
I stumbled upon Darren’s work on Instagram and wondered if what I was seeing was actually real. It is! All images are, no Photoshop, and they are produced on-location at night through use of LEDs and slow-shutter photography. The Artist lives in California and he has been light painting since 2007 when he first tried this technique after seeing an image from Gjon Mili that captured Pablo Picasso creating a light drawing called “Picasso Draws A Centar”. Since then the artist has been refining his technique with his work consisting of dinosaurs, skateboarders, skeletons and animals he draws with his lights!
Pearson’s website is full of tips to fellow enthusiasts and promote the understanding and appreciation of light-painting photography while providing readers with the tools they need to try it out for themselves. To see a lot more of Pearson’s work check out his Flickr profile or head over to his website Darius Twin here and his Instagram.
Although his work is playful and whimsical it is not as easy as it looks like to produce.It takes a lot of skills to transfer the image in his mind onto that canvas as he explains in this interview.
Julie: As mentioned above I discovered your work on Instagram and I must say I am impressed to say the least. I am wondering, and this might sound obvious, could you tell me what light photography is?
Darren Pearson: Light-painting photography is a facet of long-exposure photography. With traditional snapshots, the shutter mechanism opens and shuts quickly to capture a moment, but with a long exposure, the shutter is manually opened and closed to capture minutes instead – this enables the light-painter to illustrate or project with a light-source and for the camera to track wherever the light is moved or casted. Because it is dark, the light trails contrast with the environment to create the light-painting.
J: What is your photographer background?
DP: I was an illustrator first, and still do some graphic design work from time to time, but I got started with photography back in 2007 after seeing this image in a photo book here – it was a eureka moment for me.
J: Most of our readers might not be familiar with your technique, can you elaborate your process?
DP: In terms of technique, there are many different ways to light-paint including surface painting, orbs, steel-wool spinning, light-stencils, models, etc. Light Painting World Alliance (LPWA) is a great place to find out about different styles of light-painting and see local artists around your geographic location within its extensive artist database.
I personally specialize in illustration, and I’ve created my own LED tool to help with precision light-drawing. I call it Night-Writer and it does exactly what you’d expect a Night-Writer to do – it’s an LED marker with different color-tips you plug-in for various lighting effects. I manufacture them from my home in Los Angeles, CA and sign, number and date them all on the interior. I have sold and shipped over 100 light-pens all over the world and you can get them via my website.
In order to try out light-painting for yourself, you need a camera capable of producing long exposures, a tripod to hold your lens steady for the duration of the photo, and an LED light (any light works, even a match): I’ve made a part of my website devoted to the educational aspect of light-art here that will explain everything for beginners step by step here.
You can even light-paint using an iphone + long exposure app.
J: What do you enjoy the most about lightpainting photography?
DP: My favorite part about light-painting is that it feels like a new frontier of photography, it opens a world of possibility for night images.
J: How do you pick the locations and the subjects you will be photographing?
DP: I choose locations based on places I find interesting: national parks, sites of historical importance, abandoned buildings, and spots w unique geological features. Google maps satellite view is a wonderful resource!
My light-subjects relate to what I think is important in life: humanity, the environment, space, spiritual mysteries, exploration, the animal kingdom, and of course food.
J: You currently have a feature on your website about your work series of fossils. Could you tell me more about it?
DP: Light-fossils is a series about prehistoric light-creatures that speaks to my enduring love for dinosaurs and ice-age mammals. Fossils can give us a context for life on Earth and a broader view of time in general. I’m always adding to this collection, I hope to release a book one day.
J: You have made many collaborative projects what are your insights?
DP: In terms of collaborative projects, I’m always looking for ways to push the technological boundaries of light-art or just to create something totally unique! It takes working with many others to make the most important projects come to life.
J: What advice would you give to aspiring night photographers?
DP: My advice to aspiring night-photographers is do it daily (or nightly or weekly, just often!), I promise you will see results if you try something new and go somewhere different each time. Explore what works best for you and carve your own path. Practice makes perfect and it’s a productive use of your time, you’ll get exercise, and have an excuse to go on great adventures w friends.
J: Do you exhibit in galleries too?
DP: I will be having work on display at Photokina 2016 in Cologne Germany Sept. 20-25th 2016.
J: Are there any exciting projects you are currently working on at the moment?
DP: One of the most exciting projects I have going on right now is the development of a new more advanced Night-Writer LED tool – this will be a high tech light device for serious light-artists and I can’t wait to release it. I’ve been working on it for years now!