Painting with light

Kid with a rifle – painting with light

In Photography, Travel by Bob Wild2 Comments

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Painting with light

Who Said -“If you saw a man drowning and you could either save him or photograph the event…what kind of film would you use?” – Anonymous

Scared of the night

Even when you try to do everything right, you can be scared out of your pants. Several of us decided we wanted to try “painting with light”. So late one Friday night we headed out to a farmer’s field that was 15 minutes east on the highway from where I lived in Oak Bluff, Manitoba. Needing permission, we stopped and talked to the farmer. We informed him of our intentions and were given access. We beetled off to where an old tractor and caddy had been sitting idle for years. The three of us grabbed our cameras, and gear then started setting up. I had forgotten the level that fits into the hot-shoe of the camera. So I returned to the car. On the way back from our vehicle, a rather large dump truck pulls up blocking my path. The passenger window opens, I hear in a stern voice, “What are you do-in?”.
I respond, “We are about to take pictures of the old tractor & caddy.”
His response,“ Ya can’t take pictures in the dark!”
Hopping onto the side step of their truck, leaning through the open window, I explain to the two older gents, (one was wearing a cowboy hat, both dressed in dungarees, yup dungarees). That yes…you can take pictures in the dark. My buddies and I were going to experiment with a technique called “painting with light”. It’s all about using longer than normal exposure, and highlighting the subject with a flashlight to expose parts of the object you want to appear in the picture. Once they were satisfied, I was able to return to the rest of the group.
Now things had been going quite well for a couple of hours. It was about two am, and there had been no issues, we were all having a good time. As I was checking the latest 90-second exposure on the back of the camera, AKA “chimping”, I looked up and immediately jumped about 4 feet, right out of my skin.

Ready for the night

Leaning over-top of me was not one but two young men. They were in their early 20’s, one with a rifle, the other carrying a beer. ‘NO ONE’ heard them coming. They scared the bejesus out of me! They looked at me and said, “What are doing?”
My response, “WHERE THE HELL DID YOU COME FROM!” They laughed. There was definitely alcohol in their system. They pointed to another house down the highway. Anyways, after the introductions and the explanation of what we were up to, they went back to their house, rifle, beer and all. It wasn’t long after that we packed up and left.

Side note. Too bad I was so shaken up. I missed the opportunity to have the two young fellows pose with the truck. AH! Shooters remorse.

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