Rammell Photography

Surrey Wedding Photographer

Blog Post 2: Inspirational Photography & My Balls...of light

torch, balls, ball, red, orb, art, night, Light, painting, Photography, LEDMichael Rammell4 Comments

OK, so in my last blog post I actually said that I was going to use my second blog post to show off a few shots from my new 7d and  give my kit a bit or a review. I also said that I would talk a little bit about what I've done so far to set up my business (My website, business cards, this blog, social networking etc...) however one evening this week I saw an incredible and very inspiring video on DigitalRev.com.

The following video is a must-watch. It's a short 15 minute documentary about a Photographer called Denis Smith, who, after suffering depression, alcohol problems and debt problems found photography. Denis' photography seems to be exclusively light orb painting (or, 'Balls of Light' as Denis calls them). Have a watch:

I found this to be inspiring for a few reasons: for starters Denis hasn't been a photographer for that long at all (watch the video and listen carefully to find out how recent this all is). If Denis is capable of such immense Balls of Light after such a short period of time then I can only tip my hat to him and say well done. Secondly, it sounds as if Denis' wife is hugely supportive of not just him as a person, but also his work. On top of that Denis appears to have overcome all those things that were previously issues in his life and looks to be living a very fulfilling lifestyle indeed - photographing these orbs and making a living in a beautiful country.

I have seen orbing before, plenty of times on Flickr and 500px and normally to a high standard, but I was really, very impressed with Denis' orbs. So perfect. Before today I had already had a look around the internet to see how these orbs were achieved but it was only after watching this video that I really wanted to give this a try.

So I headed to Maplin, picked up a red LED, a white LED, a powerful LED torch and then struggled to find a cord or some string to attach my lights to. In the end I raided a pair of old trainers for their laces and I was set. I'm not sure I should say where I took this particular photo as I actually had to head across a field of crops for about 15 minutes to get my destination. I think, technically I may have been trespassing:


Click to enlarge: One of my first attempts

Making my way through the crop field I really had to wade. It was only when I got home late that I realised my jeans were soaked and filthy. I'm pleased I own a pair of Timberland boots, they're so tough and hardy! It's things like this that remind me that photography is such a great, clean and healthy hobby.

I started to hear some pretty strange noises and my eyes started playing tricks on me here. Also, I almost fell: just behind the red orb in the above picture is a small mound, I actually wanted to climb up that mound and spin-up the red orb there but it was too dark and I didn't want to use my torch unless I was light-painting the scene. I made the 15 minute trek back across the corn field worrying about grass snakes and all the odd noises I could hear.

I decided I'd head somewhere a little more familiar instead. There is small pond area on the business park where I work. It was quiet, there were no street lights or lamps and there was also a nice little wooden footbridge. Perfect. I'd spin the orb on that bridge!


Click to enlarge: The orb on the bridge

I shot this same attempt 3 times, spinning and spinning. Each time the bridge was just not painted enough. I was so concious of making it look too-light, to painted. I like the effect of picking out the details just about and having the orb stand out. But I either didn't paint the scene for long enough after spinning my orb, or way over-painted the bridge.

This was my 4th attempt and I think I got a decent balance this time.

Although I have come back after 3 hours of shooting I only really ended up with about 20 photo's, of which 2 (these 2) I think are the only ones of any merit in my own opinion. With each exposure taking between 3 - 7 minutes I was getting very dizzy and my eyes were playing tricks on me.

I decided to call it a night, hoping what I would see on my computer would be similar to what I was seeing on the back of the camera whilst I was out that night.

Please, if you haven't already watch the video above, visit Denis' website and...if you're a photographer - give this a try!

I will certainly be doing this again in the very near future to make a better go of it. I need to get the orbs looking a lot more like Denis'! Perhaps my next orbs will be done with the 7d!

Until next time (where I plan to talk business and some other fluff too)

Denis Smith Photography | Balls of Light: http://www.denissmith.com.au/

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