ANNOUNCEMENT: 2015 Light Painting Workshops Dates!

•September 18, 2014 • Leave a Comment

We are excited to announce that the next group Light Painting the Still Life Workshops will be held here at my home studio (in beautiful Lancaster County, PA) on:

~ January 23rd, 24th, and 25th, 2015

~ March 6th, 7th, and 8th, 2015

~ April 10th, 11th, and 12th, 2015

More dates to be announced shortly.

Registration is now open, and the workshop is limited to 6 students.

Click HERE for the schedule and details of the workshop.

My workshops involve real teaching of the methods I employ, and this is a technical and intensive workshop… you will be given the training needed to produce work at a very high level. You will be receiving personal, detailed hands-on (literally!) instruction on proper light painting (not light pointing), and my post production process. You will actually learn the nuances of lighting, and the nuances of using masking to create beautiful images!

My co-instructor, John Corcoran, will be bringing a lot of experience to the workshop. He has worked as a professional photographer for over 35 years, and has been light painting for almost 20 of those years.

He shoots wonderful floral images and portraits, all using light painting. You can see some of John’s images HERE.

Photograph by Steve Maxx, a student of photographer Harold Ross's light painting workshop

Photograph by workshop student Steve Maxx

You can see my students’ images in my Student Workshop Images page.

Recap of Group Workshops…

•August 12, 2014 • 4 Comments

I always seem to be playing catch-up when it comes to recaps of light painting workshops… Things are just so busy here that it’s difficult to get around to getting it done sometimes. To that end, this recap covers two group workshops, both of which were quite successful!

Note *** In the first group, one student, Rob Goldsborough, asked us not to include his photograph in the workshop recap. This is because he photographed a specific subject relating to a book that will be published, and for this reason, we cannot show you his photograph prior to the book’s publication.***

Dan Gerth chose some very challenging subjects to shoot. Metal, glass, and a big range of tones, from black to white. In the workshop, we work with a backlit scrim to get beautiful graduated reflection in glass and chrome, and that came in very handy for Dan, who needed to control the brightness of the chrome tripod. Dan allowed the tripod legs to trail off into darkness, as bright elements leading off of the frame tend to be distracting. Dan employed a good technique to get some nice reflection in the lens of the Leica… he placed a small piece of white paper in front of the lens (not between the lens and the camera, of course), and then lit the paper with the diffused flashlight, creating the reflection.

Photography by Harold Ross's student Dan Gerth

Photograph by Dan Gerth


Steve Maxx chose to photograph a beautiful antique folding camera from my collection. The brown, brass and black areas are such a gorgeous combination. Steve decided to use an old door as a background, which works so well with the colors and textures of the camera. He employed the same technique as Dan did… Using a white piece of paper out in front of the lens to create the reflection in the lens. He really did a beautiful job lighting the front lens panel and front standard of the camera, as well as the bellows. Steve deftly composed this image in a short time, and did a terrific job of lighting it!

Photography by Harold Ross's student Steven Maxx

Photograph by Steve Maxx

 In this image, Manouch Shirzad had to deal with a wide range of objects, in terms of their reflectance. The glass flash tube and flashbulb were lit with a diffused scrim from above, but in order to get a subtle reflection on the right side of the flashbulb, he, as in the previous two examples, placed a small piece of white paper to the right of the flash tube and lit it with the diffused flashlight. This placed a soft reflection on the right side of the flash tube. The gear was lit with a diffused flashlight, as were the Kodak boxes. The difference in brightness between the boxes, the glass and the gear would normally present issues, but in light painting, as we control the dynamic range of the image, we aren’t worried about placing very dark and matte objects next to bright and/or reflective objects. Manouch realized that in shooting something like a box, it’s a challenge to make sure that each panel of the box has a different value so that the shape is apparent. I really like the subtlety with which he treated the top of the wooden box that everything is sitting on.

Photography by Harold Ross's student Manouch Shirzad

 Photograph by Manouch Shirzad


In searching through the props that we provide for each workshop, Charles Meacham found the gnarliest lime I’ve ever seen! It’s a great counterpoint to the silky smooth surface of the tomatoes. At first, Charles attempted to light all of the tomatoes in one capture. He soon found out that in lighting each tomato, he was creating highlights in the other tomatoes in places that he didn’t want them. He ended up shooting each tomato in a separate capture, in order to keep the lighting on each one just exactly as he wanted it.

Photography by Harold Ross's student Charles Meacham

Photograph by Charles Meacham

  My collection of props contains some very interesting objects… Sean Hoover picked out two hip implants from the collection, and decided to photograph them with a vertebra. Again, a tremendous variation in reflectance. The implants are essentially chrome and titanium, and being spherical, the chrome parts required an extremely soft light source, in this case, the scrim backlit with an LED panel. Metal and glass are seemingly difficult things to light, but my students find that they can be lit beautifully with a very simple technique. A very small touch that Sean used effectively was to place a small highlight on the tip of the front implant. Although quite small, this little highlight really pulls the tip of that implant forward.

Photography by Harold Ross's student Sean Hoover

 Photograph by Sean Hoover


Two months later, we had another group workshop, and below are the results.

Sean Sauber decided to bring some of his collectible pens to the workshop. Although I encourage students to bring their own objects to workshops to photograph, it’s something we always talk about beforehand to avoid students bringing overly complex objects. The pens that Sean brought are beautiful, but presented some lighting challenges given their glossy nature. The black pen with silver trim is a great example of how, in light painting, we can render two very different surface types with detail everywhere. We do this by lighting every element with just the right amount of light for that particular element, be it light or dark or reflective or matte. Sean brought a camera that wasn’t easily supported by tethering software, but he was very willing and able to find a workaround and was able to tether after all. I was very impressed by his troubleshooting skills!

Photography by Harold Ross's student Sean Sauber

Photograph by Sean Sauber

 Brian Zwit was  a real self-starter, quite adept at composition, and put together his still life with very little need for input from either John or myself. The color scheme of his image is quite nice, as well as the combination of surfaces. I remember that Brian decided to light the top of the roses a little more than the lower roses, which helped maintain the feel of the direction of the light. Brian’s image has a beautiful softness.

Photography by Harold Ross's student Brian Zwit

 Photograph by Brian Zwit

One of the things that I find so rewarding in teaching workshops is to see students create compositions that I would never think of creating.  This may sound rather egotistical, but what I mean by it is that I love to learn from my students. I learn that my way of thinking about composing a still life is not the only way, nor is it the best way… Larry Street created his composition out of reflective subjects…even the background is reflective… And there is something about the way the shapes relate to each other that I find very interesting. Larry talked about Salvador Dali and M.C. Escher, and how, in his photograph, he would like to combine objects that had nothing to do with each other (with the exception of their surface qualities), in order to create an image with a suggestion of the surreal. I think he was successful!

Photography by Harold Ross's student Larry Street

 Photograph by Larry Street

In this image, Sujinder Pothula overcame several composition challenges, and had a very difficult set of objects in terms of lighting. He really had to think through how he was applying the light in order to create depth in this rather complicated image. The motorcycle alone was quite complex. Of course, I was very happy to see him photographing BMW related objects, as I am passionate about  my BMW motorcycles! Great job, Sujinder!

Photography by Harold Ross's student Sujinder Pothula

Photograph by Sujinder Pothula

George Riling created a beautiful composition here, with a lovely color scheme. The pewter and background provide a wonderful monochromatic foil for the colors in the image. When I look at a still life shot from a camera angle like this; low, almost level with the subject, I always think about architecture and how one might design a skyline for a city. Here, George created a wonderful sense of height variation with his subjects that works quite well.

Photography by Harold Ross's student George Riling

 Photograph by George Riling

Both of these workshops were terrific ones, and John Corcoran and I both enjoyed them very much.

This has been a very busy year. We will be doing recaps on several other workshops that have taken place this year… stay tuned for those updates! Until next time!

To see more student images from my workshops, click HERE.

August 15th-17th, 2014 workshop – 1 opening is now available!

•July 23, 2014 • 2 Comments

Hi Everyone! This is Vera Ross again! We’ve had a cancellation for our upcoming workshop on August 15th – 17th, 2014!

PLEASE CALL US at 717-923-0269 to make arrangements if you’d like to fill the opening.

It’s first come, first served, so please don’t hesitate!

See the link for the workshop HERE.

Thanks everyone!


Photograph by Harold Ross

Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2014 at The State Museum of Pennsylvania – Upcoming Exhibition

•June 18, 2014 • 9 Comments

I recently received notice that one of my images from an ongoing series, “Burnt Offerings”, was accepted into “Art of the State: Pennsylvania 2014″, to be shown at The State Museum of Pennsylvania.

The 47th annual Art of the State is recognized as the official, statewide juried competition for Pennsylvania artists. Jurors selected artwork from 5 categories – Painting, Craft, Works on Paper, Photography and Sculpture. The exhibition includes 122 works of art by 114 artists from 30 counties. This year’s exhibit attracted 1,772 entries from 782 artists!

The exhibit opens to the public on Sunday, June 22, at The State Museum of Pennsylvania, with an artists’ reception on Saturday June 21st from 7-9 PM. It runs through Sept. 14, 2014.

“Burnt Offerings” is my new ongoing series of images of burned leaves. I’ve always been captivated by the beauty and variety of leaves. In photographing things that are “past their prime”, I work with the notion of finding beauty in things which are thought to no longer have any. In the fall, leaves are often burned to ash. I decided to burn some leaves to discover what would happen to them, and I found something amazing. Although rendered to near ash, they held their shape, albeit somewhat deformed, and are extremely fragile. Although devoid of color and nearly destroyed by the heat, I find them to be quite beautiful and almost metallic.

Burnt Offerings #3 by photographer Harold Ross

“Burnt Offerings #3″ by Harold Ross

July 18th-20th, 2014 workshop – We Have An Opening!

•June 16, 2014 • 2 Comments

Hi Everyone!

This is Vera Ross again… We’ve just had a cancellation for our upcoming workshop, July 18th – 20th.

PLEASE CALL US at 717-923-0269 to make arrangements if you’d like to fill the opening.

It’s first come, first served, so please don’t hesitate if you are interested.

We also have spots available for our October 10,11,12, but our November 7,8,9 workshop has only ONE spot remaining. See the link for those workshops HERE. Thanks everyone!

Harold Ross's student Lisa Cuchara's light painted image

Photograph by workshop student Lisa Cuchara

Workshop recaps… a 2-on-1 and Two Individual Sessions.

•June 5, 2014 • 5 Comments

A few months ago (yes, I’m playing catch-up), I had several workshops in one four week period. As always, I’m so proud of the images that were produced that I want to share them.

The first of these workshops, a 2-on-1, was with Fred Shiple and Tim Hacker – two friends who decided to travel together from Ohio and take a workshop. Both were experienced in photography and Photoshop, and both took very well to the process I teach at my workshops.

Fred wanted to do something traditional and simple, and as always, simple seems to work well when considering the transformational quality of light painting. He created a beautiful composition:

Fred_Shiple_WS copy

 Photograph by workshop student Fred Shiple

 Tim gravitated to my collection of old photography gear. He has an eye for color, and chose some props that worked together in that regard, and he also specifically wanted to learn to light glass objects. The reflection of one bottle in another was quite intriguing!


      Photograph by workshop student Tim Hacker

Will Doak, a fellow Pennsylvanian (who has recently moved to Santa Fe, and I’m a little jealous!), like Fred, decided to do a traditional still life. He selected some pewter from my prop collection and nicely combined it with some organic elements. Of special interest to us was the tiny glass with its specular highlights.


Photograph by workshop student Will Doak

Robert “Jake” Jacobsen, who took the train from his home in NYC, was quite knowledgeable about art in general, and was specifically interested in the painterly quality that light sculpting affords. Jake took to the process very quickly, and has actually been back for a second workshop (more on that in a future post). Hint: Remember the plumb bob…

Jake_Jacobsen_WS copy

Photograph by workshop student Robert “Jake” Jacobsen

The lighting techniques I teach in the workshop are crucial to my process, but the Photoshop post production has a bonus… the layering and masking techniques are applicable to non-light painting work also! Not only am I gratified by what my students produce during a workshop, but I’m also happy to know that their other photography will benefit  from what they learn here as well.

To see more student images from my workshops, click HERE.

If you’re interested in learning this powerful and rewarding process, there are upcoming group workshops, as well as individualized one-on-one workshops available anytime, all to be held at my home studio in beautiful Lancaster County, PA.  See more details HERE. Hope to see you!

Outdoor Light Painting Photo challenge announced by PopPhoto…

•May 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

In case you haven’t seen it, Popular Photography is having a Light Painting Outdoor contest for the month of May. I wish I were judging it!

Why don’t you get outside and try your hand at some light painting outdoors at night! Bring a friend with you and have some fun while you’re at it. If you don’t get a winning image, at least you’ll have some good memories!


As you should with any contest you enter, make sure to read through the official rules to make sure you are okay with their language about copyright and usage!


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