Over the course of the last seven weeks I kept on pondering what was my passion for photography, what did I want to capture most? In week two I realized after staying up until three in the morning for the fourth time that I love the night. There is something peaceful and tranquil about a campus that is usually bustling with people being suddenly silent and empty. Yet without the sounds of people, I can appreciate the true beauty of the campus, lit up at night by light. Light is what keeps us safe. A nightlight protects a child from the scary monsters under the bed, and after playing a horror game or watching a scary movie, nothing is sweeter than the feeling of turning on a light and being washed over by its warmth, knowing the horror game or movie can’t scare you anymore. For mankind, light is a symbol of protection and a memory of the sun until it shines again in the morning, and that’s what makes it so beautiful.
However, in a composition, just taking a picture of the lights at night isn’t particularly interesting. My first night out, I tried to take pictures of the streetlights, gas stations lit up, and cars passing by. I took some decent  photos, but they didn’t interest me at all, didn’t convey the deeper meaning I wanted. So I looked into long exposure photos, and started taking pictures of those. When you physically move the camera around, the pictures become choppy and jagged and are much less graceful than they could be, but if you keep the camera perfectly still, and move the light around yourself, you can create beautiful images. I used a drone that had twinning red and green lights, and took my first few shots of it taking off, just like my inspiration for this project. After that initial breakthrough, it was easy to come up with patterns to literally draw in the air with the drone: concentric circles, waves, my own name, these movements appeared abstract in person, but became beautiful photos when captured by the camera.
Over the course of the next five weeks, I began to experiment more and more with light, moving lit objects around in meticulous ways. However, I soon found that my joy was in creating a more… crazy image. Wild movements of the lights and the camera created abstract paintings that were almost jarring in nature, and while they didn’t convey a beauty in lights, they became a new way to explore all that I could do with them. Towards the end, my light paintings became more abstract and wild, and I often found myself comparing the pictures I took to that of an LSD experience. L$D, by A$ap Rocky used similar visual effects in the music video, and I found it invigorating to discover how they did the effects in the video, and to recreate them myself.
By the end of this project, my focus had shifted from trying exclusively to demonstrate the beauty in light and the patterns it makes, to demonstrating how unique and versatile it can be. I created so many different sets of images, each utilizing light in a unique way, and I found that the lights at night were no longer a beacon of safety for me, but they were a portal to a world where my crazy imagination could take off. And that’s the beauty of light, it is versatile and unique, and should be cherished, not used as a crutch for our fears.
PINTEREST BOARD LINK  ... Long Exposure Inspiration
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