To Trip the Light Fantastic: light painting at Hogsback

I think there’s a good deal of fun to be had light painting. It’s like a mini performance. You have to imagine a dark scene to light up, get your camera organised, put on your darkest clothes, start the camera and then take your light into the space, weaving and turning, circling and waving. Then dash back (taking care not to trip in the dark) to see what you’ve captured on the live view of your camera. I’m particularly fortunate because my Olympus OMD has a live composite mode that lets you see the picture you’ve already built up. You can then either stop the long exposure or go back into the scene for some more painting with light (of course you might then ruin it!).

We were up at Hogsback last week and I was looking forward to doing some light painting experiments. It’s a great dark sky site with very little light pollution and lots of locations with mountain views, stars overhead, forests and waterfalls.

On our first evening there I went down the steep woodland path below Wild Fox Hill and took a few shots of myself coming back up towards the camera from out of the forest. I called this picture In the Flow. The second picture was taken that same evening down in the basement extensions being built below the house. I lit the walls and beams first with sweeps of colour and then did some perilous weaving On the Loose dodging the buckets, tools, beams, bottles and mud scattered around the floor. The third picture is almost formal. Standing Guard was taken in the plantation forest with a back lit night sky. It took multiple trips stumbling through the pine litter and fallen branches trying to remember which trees I had stood behind to make the pattern of circles. The last two pictures were taken when there was still some sunset afterglow beneath the milky way. Tor Doone rears up over the valley from Wild Fox Hill and I made these two pictures at almost the same spot. The Sentinel looks rather as though he’s standing guard whilst the Ribbon Dancer is far more elegant as she trips the light fantastic.

Light painting with Freddy, the Fibre Art Fish

Freddy’s been circling in my studio ever since he swam over to me from Sally Scott’s wonderful exhibition at the Johan Carinus Art School. That must be five or six years ago during South Africa’s National Arts Festival!

Last night he got a real break. I gave him a dust over and a new (black) line and took him outside as night fell. He looked absolutely splendid glinting in the lights – I’d swear he was pirhouetting with pleasure under the canopy of our old grape vine. And he got the film star treatment – with flash lights popping and light wands waving. Just take a look at him!!