ANNOUNCEMENT: Light Painting Workshop to be held in March, 2014

•November 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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

~ March 7th (evening), 8th and 9th, 2014.

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

Click HERE for the schedule and details of the workshop.

These 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.

Photographer Harold Ross's light painted image "Still Life with Green Stein"

“Still Life with Green Stein” by Harold Ross

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

“Absolutely loved the workshop…it opened a new door to release the vision I have always had in my head. All in all, I loved the workshop and would recommend it to anyone.”

- Lynn Cromer, Texas – Group Light Painting the Still Life Workshop

 

Workshop with Paul and Nancy…

•October 30, 2013 • 2 Comments

Earlier this year, I taught a workshop to students Paul Wegemann, from Colorado, and Nancy Ori, from New Jersey. We had a great time, and we made some interesting images!

Paul and Nancy are both experienced photographers, so they caught on to the concepts fairly quickly. Nancy in particular wanted to learn a bit about lighting a glossy colorful object (this seems to be of interest to many of my students), and so she brought along this pitcher. One of the things I love about the methods I teach is the simplicity of the tools needed. Nancy lit this entire scene with a flashlight and diffuser, and an LED panel with a scrim (diffusion panel). That’s it. The scrim works beautifully for glossy or chrome objects when lit from behind by a small LED panel. It’s important to know just how far to hold the light from the panel, and also how to move the light a bit to further soften the highlight to shadow transitions. Nancy did a wonderful job here:

Photographer Harold Ross's student Nancy Ori's light painted image

Photograph by Nancy Ori

Paul chose some wonderful props from my collection here at the studio. The plumb bob sitting on top of the gear is one of my very favorite objects. You can just see the patina of usefulness on this basic, yet important, tool. Like Nancy, Paul intentionally chose objects that would provide a lighting challenge, and the clock provided several of them, including shiny metal and glass, obviously. Another fantastic advantage to light painting is the ability to create separation with light alone. Notice how well Paul separates the clock from the dark box behind it. By using light on the clock, and light on the box (on the left side) he gets great separation, and great dimensionality in the image. Another example of this is the leather cover of the notebook, and how the edge of it stands out against the gear behind it.

Photographer Harold Ross's student Paul Wegemann's light painted image

Photograph by Paul Wegemann

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

There are still openings for the November (8,9 and 10) and January (17,18 and 19) light painting workshops, to be held at my home studio in Lancaster County, PA.  See more details HERE. Hope to see you!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Light Painting Workshop to be held in January, 2014

•October 3, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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

~ January 17th (evening), 18th and 19th, 2014Sorry, this workshop is full. There are still spots open for the March and May workshops.

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

Click HERE for the schedule and details of the workshop.

These 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.

H_Ross_tomatoes_scale

Photo by Harold Ross

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

I would recommend this workshop to anyone who is interested in the art of Light Painting.  Both Harold and John are excellent instructors, they are patient beyond words, great communicators and very willing to share their knowledge.  The workshop covered all aspects of Light Painting, from lighting concepts, composition, camera settings, image capture and post processing.

After taking Harold’s Light Painting Workshop, I have found that both the handout material and the Photoshop actions we received have been invaluable tools in my photography.

In short, the Workshop exceeded my expectations, I had a great time, learned a tremendous amount, the cappuccinos were excellent and I hope to take another workshop with Harold in the near future.

Thanks again
Ron.”

Ron Studebaker, Colorado – March 2013 Group Light Painting the Still Life

 

Light Painting Tips and Techniques: Closer is Softer.

•September 25, 2013 • 12 Comments

In my light painting workshops and presentations, I talk a lot about lighting theory, and how I believe that it is easier to understand how light works if you can break lighting theory down into just a few basic rules.

One of the most important rules, and one that becomes essential to understanding light painting, is that the softness of light is in large part determined by the size (relative to the subject) of the light. To take it further, the size of the light is (effectively) changed as the distance of the light to the subject changes. As a way of illustrating this idea, think about a light source 10 inches in diameter. At 30 feet away from the subject, that light source is quite hard, and yields shadows and highlight/shadow transitions that have sharp edges. Now, bring that same light source 1 foot away from the subject, and it becomes a very soft light source, with soft shadows.

In light painting, we have the fantastic ability to bring the light in very close to the subject, often just 1 inch or so away. In this way, a 1 inch diameter light actually becomes quite soft. Also (and this is something that we can only do in light painting), we can move the light in particular ways to even further soften it as the movement, in effect, makes the light source even larger in relation to the subject.

I decided to make the following video tutorial while I was photographing some of my pipes, most of which my grandfather had given me. This is the same grandfather who inspired me to photograph an anvil a few years back. He spent his career as a blacksmith trained in the Journeyman System in Switzerland, and he smoked a pipe for as long as I can remember. He recently decided to stop smoking pipes, and he gave me several of his favorites, which I treasure.

The video demonstrates that by simply moving a light closer to the subject, we make it effectively larger and therefore softer, which in my opinion, is usually more beautiful.

This is one of a series of tutorials that I’ve created involving my light painting process, and it is just a quick look at the kind of information that my students learn more in depth at my workshops.

After the video starts, please click on the “gear” icon on the lower right to increase the video resolution for better viewing quality (1080 recommended)… especially if you want to watch it full screen.

To see more of my videos on Light Painting technique click HERE

Trip to Montana… Part 2

•September 5, 2013 • 4 Comments

Staying with John, Terrye and Kas Tebbetts was like being in an art museum dedicated to landscape painting, except that the landscapes were real, and seen through the huge floor-to-ceiling windows that surrounded the great room that is the entire south end of the house. Each hour revealed new lighting, a new storm coming through, a new series of cloud formations… it was a constantly changing show.

A double rainbow as seen from the Tebbetts’ living room

In this photo, you can see some of the furnishings that John designed and made, and the unique ceiling that he made from a reclaimed metal roof (standing seam type). He “squashed” the seams before creating the ceiling. Also, you can see the huge chandelier supported by a Jib crane on the left, and the light fixture above the dining table, all of which he made.

View of the great room with its windows

One of our goals for this trip was to do some landscape light painting, but unfortunately, that couldn’t happen due to some weather and scheduling issues (you all know how fast a week goes by when you are somewhere very special!) We did, however, do some location light painting (see the last post, and two images at the bottom of this post) at the World Mining Museum.

In preparation for the landscape shooting (which didn’t happen), John and I did a lot of scouting, which was a ton of fun! We were very interested in the beautiful rock formations that dot the landscape for miles around. The only way to cover enough ground to truly scout these subjects was to go out in one of John’s side-by-side 4 wheelers. Now, riding in very steep terrain next to a guy who has hang glided, heli-skied, ice climbed, and rides an enduro motorbike, is not for the faint of heart! Just after the picture below was shot, we headed straight up! Now, I’ve done a little dirt riding, and some track riding on motorcycles, but I was a little nervous on this excursion. John really knows what he’s doing, however, and I made it back in one piece.

Harold and John scouting for landscape light painting subjects

On our way up, I shot a picture of the Tebbetts’ home:

The Tebbetts’ home, after climbing partway up the ridge

One of the rock formations we will (hopefully) shoot in the future:

One of the interesting rock formations that dot the landscape

I’m certainly not a landscape photographer (and I normally work in color), but I couldn’t help myself here:

John waiting patiently while I shot the picture:

A souvenir… yes, I brought back a souvenir, in the form of a big bruise on my left hip. I couldn’t resist John’s offer of letting me ride his awesome KTM bike, but we were short of time, and like a rookie, I jumped on it without the proper equipment. Instead, I was wearing shorts and improper boots, no body armor or long sleeves. I deserved the bruise that I got after hitting a rather large sagebrush and falling onto the only rock within 50 feet! My souvenir bruise is almost healed at this point, but my pride is still somewhat damaged.

Me riding through the sagebrush, unsuccessfully trying to avoid injury

Back to the mines!

While checking out the abandoned mines for subjects, we found another subject that just begs to be light painted. Don’t ask me what the function of this truck was (although I’m sure it was some kind of hoist), but I don’t care… this thing looked like it was right out of a circus, and we expected a clown with a headlamp and pick to show up at any time! I really want to return to shoot this amazing vehicle.

Light Painting in the World Museum of Mining

As I mentioned in Part 1, John managed to get us access to the Mining Museum’s old town, with its authentic stores full of artifacts from the era when mining was booming in Butte.

A huge thanks goes to Dolores Cooney, Museum Curator, who was kind enough to allow us to photograph in the museum!

We were both drawn to the Assayer’s shop in the museum’s historic old town area. This is the all important place where the value of the ore was determined. This light painted photograph is of various tools and chemical’s used to determine the purity of the copper ore, and the beautiful cyan deposits are copper sulfate. This image, for me, is an exceptional example of what can be done with light painting:

In the same shop, there was the ubiquitous (and very beautiful) safe, where cash and valuable ore was kept. To the right of the safe are core samples, which were taken to determine if there were any deposits worth mining for. On top of the safe is a scale for weighing the ore. This was actually a very difficult subject to shoot, lighting-wise, and John made some suggestions during post production that really helped the image:

I hope you enjoyed the recap of our awesome trip! Until next time!

Harold

Trip to Montana… Part 1

•August 27, 2013 • 4 Comments

Well, Vera and I just returned from a week in beautiful Ennis, Montana! We had a fantastic time there, thanks to our hosts, John and Terrye Tebbetts, and their daughter Kas. Here is a photo of their beautiful home, which was designed and built by John. It is made of steel and concrete, and is designed to have the feel of a mine. John included mining cars, drills and picks, as decoration, along with amazing furnishings that John made himself. It is truly a work of art! Take it from me, a guy who has an antique bandsaw in his living room (thank you for putting up with our tastes, Vera and Terrye!).

John and Terrye Tebbetts’ Montana home.

We of course did some light painting (two images at the bottom of this post, and more to come in part 2). We also did some ATV riding and lots of exploring of the old mines in Butte. We were also treated to some of the best southwestern cooking I’ve ever had! Having grown up in New Mexico, I thought I had sampled chile rellenos at their best, but I was so wrong. Terrye’s were the absolute best I’ve ever had, and so different; crunchy and absolutely delicious. John treated us to a Texan style meal of chicken fried steak that was also unbelievable. Vera and I are now truly spoiled.

John and Vera in the Gravelly Range as a storm approaches.

Here is the the amazing view from the Tebbetts’ living room:

An evening storm passes over Ennis.

Mining in Butte, and the World Mining Museum.

The massive Head Frame, which supported the cable system for the Orphan Girl Mine.

Kas Tebbetts and her father, John, are both very interested in and have a terrific knowledge of the history of mining in Butte, Montana, and they delighted us with so many interesting facts about the mines during our stay. In fact, two years ago, Kas and her father created a DVD featuring her interviews with miners Tom Holter and Ed Drabandt (available in the Museum Gift Shop). We were amazed to learn that there are 10,000 miles (Yes, you read that correctly… 10,000!) of mining tunnels under the city of Butte! Something else we learned… at any given time, there were 1100 mules underground working in the mines! These men and mules helped make electricity available to the rest of the country, as the copper that was mined in Butte went into electrical wiring. Oh, the things we take for granted…

John managed to get us unfettered access to the Mining Museum’s old town, with its authentic stores full of artifacts from the era when mining was booming in Butte. Dolores Cooney, Museum Curator, was kind enough to allow us to photograph in the museum and in the Anselmo Mine. Thank you, Dolores!

We were also very fortunate to have been given a private tour of one of the mines by a former miner, Tom Holter. Tom was an iron worker in the mines, and worked with the all-important cable systems that lowered men in to the mines (and more importantly, brought them out again). Tom took us down and showed us some of the machinery used to bring out the ore, and also showed us the rapid-fire sounding of the bells that signaled to the cable operator (called the “rope man”) when, how far, and in what direction to move the cable. A simple code – the number of bells sounded in a certain pattern told the rope man all he needed to know.

Here, retired miner Tom Holter explains mining tech to Harold Ross and John Tebbetts (l to r)

One of two tandem spools of large steel cable, used to lower and raise men, mules and ore.

John also garnered access to the now abandoned Anselmo mine, and we did two images there. One image is of the huge motor which provided power to the massive cable system which was used to lower men and mules down into the mine. Each “cage”, as they were called, held seven men, and they would lower five cages at once, one hanging from another, sometimes to a level of 2,700 feet underground. The temperatures in some of the Butte mines would often hit 130 degrees, and the miners would layer on clothing to stave off the high temperatures. And we complain about rush hour!

The “Cages”, which held 7 men, and were connected 5 in a row, lowering 35 men at a time.

minerscage

A postcard from days of old showing the stacked cages of men.

Light Painting in the Anselmo Mine

Yes, we did do some light painting while in Butte! Here is a photograph of one of the huge motors which powered the massive spools of cables above. (Or, maybe it’s the propulsion system from a starship?). The disc-like components near the back are approximately 8 feet in diameter!

In another part of the Anselmo mine, we found this amazing collection of huge wrenches. John suggested we hang the chair on the wall for scale. The chair is a full sized one, but I find it so interesting that our minds try to make the chair seem small, in a subconscious attempt to comprehend the size of the wrenches:

The next blog post will feature more Montana scenes, and light painted photographs taken in the Assayer’s shop (think chemistry lab) at the World Mining Museum.

We decided to do an image of some of the lab equipment there. We were both taken by the blue green copper sulfate deposits on the glassware. There was also a beautiful old safe in the shop, which we photographed.

Until next time!

Harold

One-on-One Workshop with Fr. Dan McLaughlin

•August 16, 2013 • 1 Comment

It’s been awhile since my last post, but things have been very busy! Vera and I spent an exciting week in Montana (I’ll be doing a blog post on that soon, along with images!)

Some of you may remember my previous student Father Dan McLaughlin. Dan returned for a second intensive workshop, and we spent four days (he opted for an extra day) delving more deeply into light painting and my post production methods.

Dan is an avid photographer, and a member of the Augustinian Friars, or O.S.A., the Order of Saint Augustine.

He lives and works at the National Shrine of Saint Rita of Cascia in Philadelphia, and he decided to bring a relic from the shrine to the workshop in order to photograph it. In the future, Dan wants to apply what he’s learned about light painting to photograph the religious art of the Shrine and church.

Dan told us the story of the significance of the red rose to St. Rita. When she was dying, a relative asked if there was anything they could do for her. Rita had at first declined, but then asked that a rose from her family’s garden be brought to her. It was, however,  January in her home region of Umbria, Itay, but upon her return home, her relative passed by the family garden and saw a single red rose on an otherwise snow covered rose bush. She picked the rose and brought it to St. Rita before she died. You can read more about St. Rita HERE.

Print_master_RelicPhotograph by Fr. Dan McLaughlin

Dan also wanted to shoot a classical still life, and created this beautiful composition:

Photographer Harold Ross's student Fr. Dan McLaughlin's light painted imagePhotograph by Fr. Dan McLaughlin

There are still openings for the September light painting workshop, to be held on the 6th, 7th and 8th. See more details HERE. Hope to see you!

 
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