From Episode 20 of http://www.ononesoftware.com/inspiration/episode20/Perfect Inspiration –
Photography is inherently a solitary pursuit. Even when you’re surrounded by fellow photographers, the journey you take and the experiences you gain every time you fire off an exposure is very much shared with only you and your camera. No one has the same direct access to your mind as you do and, as such, your personal creative process wholly rests on you. To paraphrase the Rifleman’s Creed:
This is my camera. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My camera is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.
Now let’s segue over to night photography and, more specifically, light painting. In terms of my overall experience in light painting photography, I fall right there at the very novice level. I have never really spent much time or effort learning it, so when I found out that I would be joining a cadre of fellow photographers at some random bus restoration yard in California to shoot thru the night, I figured that I’d have a lot of failed exposures as I fumbled through by myself, trying to make sense out of it all.
And then there is my friend,, who is a wonderfully talented photographer and knows a thing or two about painting with light for night photography. She showed me the true wonders of in-the-field collaboration. Everything from sharing creative concepts to optimal exposure settings to how to best use color gels with our flashlights. Throughout the shoot, Amy was totally selfless in her willingness to share. She shared her lights, her gels, her knowledge and even her water (it was about 100-degrees Fahrenheit at sunset).
There was one point when Amy was constructing her own shot using a green gelled flashlight. My rendition of the shot she was constructing is displayed right below. I walked on over, set down my tripod, and watched her work. After a few shots, I joined in and began introducing my bare white flashlight to help fill in certain areas. Without any effort at all, we began dancing around each other, taking turns filling in different parts of the scene, helping each other get our respective exposures.
It was one of the most enjoyable experiences I can remember as a photographer. In my particular career, I spend all of my efforts sharing my knowledge and experiences around photography here with all of you. In this case, it was so nice to be on the receiving end of such insight and I instantly knew that it would be the driving force for this week’s episode.
So, next time you’re out with other photographers, take stock of who they are and how collaboration amongst each other can truly enrich your experiences and images.
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In terms of processing
Check out Episode 20 of Perfect Inspiration to see a video of how I processed this image from start to finish: