Otherworldly light paintings, sans digital manipulation

Over the past few years, with the widespread growth of both digital cameras and the blogosphere, there’s been a rising trend among amateur and professional photographers experimenting with “light paintings” or rather, photographs in which a slow shutter speed captures a light source that is moved to create illuminated shapes and effects. Last year, I blogged here about Freddie Wong, an insanely popular YouTube filmmaker (his channel have over 2.4 million subscribers), who shot a crazy action sequence using this light painting technique.

Lest I give the impression that this is a recent technique, au contraire. Apparently it can be traced as far back as 1935 with Man Ray’s “space writings”. And here’s Picasso creating a centaur out of thin air with a flash light. But the light painting photo series by Dennis Calvert (above) is among the more impressive applications of this style that I’ve seen, and it’s all done without any digital manipulation. Using light sources like toy light swords, glow sticks and white holiday string lights, Calvert creates images of what I imagine superhero powers would look like if they existed in real life (but hey, that’s just my interpretation). See some of the DIY tools Calvert built to create some of these fantastic images, as well as his tutorial on how he shot the ‘man on flames’ effect.