Ghostly Trees Frame the Portland Skyline

In addition to presentations, workshops, and photo tours, I teach an online night photography class each month with my friend Donna Eaton. One really cool thing about an online course is that you get a mix of folks from all over the world and so you get to experience many different locations through their eyes. Every month I add to my list of “must-see” photo destinations. Another benefit is that each student brings a unique approach and creativity, and each of us, students and instructors alike, learn from each other.

For the light-painting assignment in the February class, Kris Vockler made a terrific image, despite sufferring from a week of photographer’s block. Here’s Kris’ image, and her description of how she created it. 

Portland skyline

Portland skyline. Photo by Kris Vockler.


“After a week of frustration while experimenting with light painting, I wanted to end the week with an attempt to get a shot that I had in my head. I wanted a background skyline shot with either a statue or trees in the foreground that I could light paint. Initially, the skyline was blurry in my mind but after shooting this and seeing the framing, the buildings just fell into place. Standing there, the trees were very dark and didn’t pick up much of the streetlamps behind. After a 30-second exposure, the orange light started to show. I tried several colors of gel filters on my flashlight, but the “golden rod” color seemed to make the bark and branches pop out. The natural streetlamp glow was making the contrast wash out. Once I zeroed in on the color I liked, it was a matter of experimenting on the right length of exposure versus the time spent casting the yellow light. Even the basalt rocks at the bottom of the frame got a bath in some of the yellow light.”

To see more of Kris’ work, visit her website.


Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.