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Blending Multiple Shot Light Painting

Over the last few years I have become very excited about Light Painting, from small Table tops set-ups to light painting mountains. One of the best ways for me to get the look I want is to do multiple images and blending them together in Adobe Photoshop. This video will show you how put one of the largest light paintings together.

Just got back from a workshop in Buffalo, NY at Silo City and it was an incredible experience. Mark Milo hosts the workshop and I was the guest instructor at this unique place to have a photography workshop. Mark gained access to a group of old silos in Buffalo and we are allowed to explore and photograph places that no one else has photographed in a very eerie location. The silos are a great location to do HDR photography; with all its detail and buildings succumbing to age there is almost no place you can point your camera that is not worth an HDR shot. Mark asked me to come along for two reasons, one for my HDR photography and two for my light painting. As we ended up having a lot of rain during the workshop light painting became the name of the game if you wanted to photograph. One of the attendees even commented to me after the second day about the number of flashlights in all the different rooms she went into and that apparently I’ve had done my job of teaching light painting.


For my photography I ended up light painting so much that my forearm cramped up from holding the Brinkman flashlight over my head. There are places at Silo City that have never been photographed because there is no light in these rooms, but they are incredible places to see and to photograph. One of my favorite images is of this doorway with a file cabinet in the small room. The room was completely black no light was getting in and when I walked around the corner with the headlight on my head and saw this amazing image that I needed to photograph. Two of the attendees with me set up their cameras and we proceeded to work on this image. This image is a composite of three different shots blended together in Photoshop to make this one photograph that I just love.


Another room that I fell in love with was the belt room as it’s called. This room housed numerous belts that helped keep the machinery running inside this building. I photographed it the day that we had sunlight and love the HDR image that came from it, but as the clouds moved in I knew that I wanted to light paint this room. The next morning as the rain was pouring outside and the sky was dark I took the Brinkman and went into this room before anyone else could, as they were still eating donuts and drinking coffee and I don’t do either. This image is another light painting composite of six images as I needed to light paint the back of the room, plus I had to overpower the sunlight that was still coming through the windows and was very blue.


Light Painting



As I was flying back from Buffalo and looking at my images on my laptop I have come to the conclusion that I have a new arsenal in my photography bag where I can photograph in inclement weather and come away with images that I’m very happy to have in my portfolio. When you look at these images think about the times that you said I’m not to go out and photograph because the sun isn’t up or the lighting looks just horrible and think about how you might be able to come away with some great images even in that type of weather.

Here are a few more images:

1449-1387In the spring I was able to go and photograph at Silo City in Buffalo, New York. This has to be one of the most unique places to hold a photography workshop, as we were able to photograph inside and outside these huge silos that have not been used in a very long time. Modern silos were invented right there in Buffalo as it was the last city before Niagara Falls and all the grains and minerals from the Midwest would have to be unloaded from barges and placed on railroad trains to head east. I learned while at Silo City that all the silos were constructed from a continuous pouring of concrete that would last over a week and had hydraulics that would lift up a form as they poured. This seemed incredible to me as I looked at these huge buildings and realized that the concrete never stopped pouring until the building was completely built.

1450-0358Walking inside the structures is both fascinating and a little scary when you peer down open spaces to the ground and windows to the outside, but that doesn’t stop you from getting lost in taking in all the textures and machinery inside the building as you photograph. There are about five buildings that we are able to explore and photograph at this location and each one is as unique as the other with a new photographic opportunity around each corner. I was there for two days and did not explore all five buildings, but I’m looking forward to going back this fall and exploring the last two that I did not photograph. We had great weather for this workshop and very calm waters for Lake Erie for this time of the year and the images with water in them look fantastic. I was told that is not always the case so I felt fortunate to be there with the water being as calm as it was.

1451-0008We also have the opportunity to go to Buffalo’s old waterworks building and photograph inside what has to be some of the largest water pumps I have ever seen. There are four pumps inside this room and to say they are massive is an understatement, it would have had to have been deafening to be around these water pumps when they are actually working at supplying water to the city of Buffalo. What I found interesting as I photographed inside of this building was that they had streetlights around the pumps and it made me think I was at a park outside.

I am very excited that I’ll be going back to Silo City and the Buffalo pumping station to lead a photography workshop with Mark Milo this fall. What is even better is that I plan to light paint both inside and outside at Silo City. I did a little the last time I was there, but I’m looking forward to doing more light painting inside the silos as well as light painting the outside of the silos again.

If you would like to join me this fall at Silo City Workshop here is the link:

And if you have any questions please send me an email.

1299-0119In a few weeks I will be leading a workshop in the Teton National Park and unlike most of our workshops that feature landscape and light painting; we also have wildlife to photograph in the Tetons. Now, I am not a wildlife photographer usually, but when I go to the Teton National Park I become one as there is great wildlife all around you. I have photographed buffalo, moose, elk and pronghorn antelope just driving around this great park. The one animal that has eluded me so far has been the black and grizzly bear. I’ve seen a few, I have tried to photograph them, but in the end, all I have ended up with is blurry bear behinds. One of the attendees from last year’s workshop and a good friend of mine, Bill Cadzow, took an incredible picture of a black bear feeding, but alas I was not there with him when photographed the bear. The other animal that I have had trouble photographing in the Tetons is a big bull moose. I have some great shots of females and of a male with small antlers, but not one with very large antlers and I hope to correct that this time when I’m out in the Tetons.

1108-0153What’s nice about trying to photograph wildlife in the Teton National Park is that most the time the animals are quite close to you. I usually rent a 100- 400mm zoom lens from Browed Lenses and find this lens allows me a great deal of range and the ability to get close-up headshots of the animals while the lens in not very large. On a past workshop one of the attendees brought a 600mm Canon lens with him and some of the images that he got were just phenomenal, but the lens is a beast. You have to have a special tripod head to use the lens and you’re not walking far with that thing, as it weighs a ton. What I also like about this lens is that it allows me to photograph an animal with the background and then to zoom in and really isolate the wildlife by itself. I have to admit that I have been thinking about trying out Canon’s new 200-400mm lens. It is supposed a phenomenal lens that is very sharp throughout and fast, but I still have a few weeks to decide before I have to rent it and I’ll let you know how it works if I do.

1140-0147If you would like to join me on my quest to finally get my images of these two great animals come join us on The Digital Photo Workshops as we photograph in Teton National Park. We have Brian Matiash joining us as a guest instructor and Rob Sylvan will be there to give you instructions on how to use Lightroom and of course me, I’ll be there teaching Photoshop and also Light Painting the night up in the park.

Here is the link to The Digital Photo Workshop


Blurry Bear Behinds

Blurry Bear Behinds


The Digital Photo Workshops

I have some great workshops coming up out west with “The Digital Photo Workshops” at The Grand Tetons National Park and in Arches and Canonlands National Park. These are both Light Painting and Landscape workshops and we have two great guest instructors, Nicole Young and Brian Matiash. Rob Sylvan and myself will be working with you on Lightroom, Photoshop and post-production skills to come away with great images.

Here is the Link: The Digital Photo Workshop

Silo City Photography Workshop

I will an instructor for a very unique workshop at Silo City in Buffalo NY. You will have great access to five different buildings that have not ben used for a long time. I will be teaching Light Painting and HDR and we will have time for some post-production tips and trick.

Here is the link: Visual Archaeology

I was in New York this week for a Kelby Training event and had the chance to go out for a twilight shot of the Brooklyn Bridge. I’d been out in California earlier that week and it was cold, but not as cold and certainly not windy out there as I was trying to get this photograph. Here are a couple of images from that shoot, I’m still not sure which one I like the best.

I just got back from teaching “The Digital Photo Workshops” in Yosemite National Park with some great people. We were out there with Dave Black and did some light painting that was just incredible and I also had the chance to light painting on my own. Yosemite is one of my favorite places the photograph and I wasn’t disappointed with the images I came away with. We had 17 students at this workshop and I was very impressed with the work that they were doing. In this workshop we talked a lot about HDR photography and using graduate neutral density filters in order to capture the images in the park. This is because the Valley is very narrow at this time and you have a lot of shadows to deal with along with a bright blue sky.

Here are a few images from that workshop.