Great Light Creates Mood

light painting the gallery shot

Peter light paints the grass in front of the Oeno Gallery. The final image is a composite of a base layer (in the comparison below) and a series of flashes.

I had shot photos of the Oeno Gallery near Bloomfield, Ontario, on a couple of different occasions before. The gallery, nestled in the picturesque grounds of the Huff Estate Winery, boasts an impressive collection of modern art inside. Outside it has en even more impressive sculpture garden where guests can walk among the beautifully landscaped gardens and take in an ever changing collection of sculptures (that also happen to be fore sale).

I decided to try my hand at a light-painted dusk shot to see if I could come up with a moody, evocative shot that does the building and its surrounds some justice. Thankfully the clouds and sky cooperated with me. I arrived to take my first shot, just as the sun lit up the clouds with intense colours.

The process of light painting is one where you set up a camera on a tripod and shoot a scene popping off a flash in any place you think the light works. Of course, you end up with light stands and the person holding it in each shot, but you composite each of those flash pops on to a base exposure that you capture first. Basically this has the advantage of allowing you to place a light literally anywhere you want it. The downside is that it takes some time, both on site and in post-processing, but when it’s pulled off correctly the results can be magical.

I’ve put the initial base shot and the final shot together, so you can move the slider to see how the flash pops and some judicious use of Photoshop made all the difference in the photo. What do you think?

Oeno Gallery Before and After