ANNOUNCEMENT: More Light Painting Workshops: October and November 2015

•July 19, 2015 • 2 Comments

Still life light painted image by Harold Ross All Rights Reserved

Photograph by Harold Ross

Last week we just announced our September 18th, 19th, and 20th workshop, and we have now decided on weekend dates in October and November!

Our next Light Painting the Still Life Workshops, which will be held here at my home studio (in beautiful Lancaster County, PA) are scheduled for:

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

~ November 13th, 14th, and 15th, 2015

Registration is now open, and the workshop is limited to 4 students.

To sign up please contact us at 717-923-0269 or via email at harold@rossstudio.com

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 subtleties of lighting, using simple and inexpensive lighting tools, and the nuances of using layers and masking in Photoshop to create powerful images!

I’ve been using light painting as my main method of lighting for 26 years.

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 over 20 of those years.

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


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


ANNOUNCEMENT: Upcoming Dates For Light Painting Workshops

•July 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Harold_Ross_Still_Life_with_Pencil_Sharpener_and_Steel_Ball

Photograph by Harold Ross

We have decided on a weekend in September (and there is still room in August) for our next group Light Painting the Still Life Workshop which will be held here at my home studio (in beautiful Lancaster County, PA).

The upcoming workshops are scheduled for:

~ August 21st, 22nd, and 23rd, 2015

~ September 18th, 19th, and 20th, 2015

Registration is now open, and the workshop is limited to 4 students.

To sign up please contact us at 717-923-0269 or via email at harold@rossstudio.com

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, using simple and inexpensive lighting tools, and the nuances of using layers and masking in Photoshop to create powerful images!

I’ve been using light painting as my main method of lighting for 26 years.

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 over 20 of those years.

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


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


Images from the Biltmore Estate – Part 5

•June 26, 2015 • 8 Comments

My apologies… It has taken awhile for me to publish this latest Biltmore post.

Until now, the photographs I made at the Biltmore House, in Asheville, N.C., focused on the ornate and luxurious appointments that were enjoyed by the Vanderbilts and their guests.

In this post, we take a look at the “downstairs”, the behind-the-scenes areas where the staff prepared food and did the more mundane tasks like cleaning the laundry.

The Brown Laundry was just a small part of the large laundry complex at the Biltmore House. There was a tremendous amount of laundry generated not only by the Vanderbilt’s, but by the large number of servants, as well as guests.

This particular room was shot during the day, and the house tour was still going on. We heard the funniest comments as the visitors looked in to see what I was doing:

“Look… he is checking for plumbing leaks” and “The electricity failed in that room”

Also: “He is looking for ghosts” and with my small LED panel in hand: “He’s ironing”.

Needless to say we got a chuckle from these comments.

In the Brown Laundry, hand washables and staff laundry were laboriously cleaned on tin washboards in the brown enameled basins. In the foreground is a ridged roller for crimping pleats.

Light painted photograph of the Brown Laundry at the Biltmore House

Photograph by Harold Ross

The wooden “cradle”, a hand-agitated mechanical washing machine from the early 1900s.

Light painted photograph of the Brown Laundry at the Biltmore House

 Photograph by Harold Ross

In this video you can see the lighting of the sinks:

The canning Pantry is just one of several pantries in the kitchen complex. The pantries were used for production and storage of various goods used in cooking for the Vanderbilts and their guests.

The Canning Pantry, Light painted photograph at the Biltmore House by Harold Ross

 Photograph by Harold Ross

The lid press:

The Lid Press in the Canning Pantry, Light painted photograph at the Biltmore House

 Photograph by Harold Ross

Photographing at the Biltmore House was an honor and a rewarding experience.

A huge THANKS to Jim Ryan, who made this project possible, and who spent many late hours with me shooting and doing post production.

And, for logistical help on the shoot, thanks to Laura Overbey, Collections Manager at the Biltmore, who helped us coordinate everything, and stayed late for us while we photographed the Biltmore House.

Thanks to Cindy Bradley of Museum Services, who assisted us in the photography of the Brown Laundry and Canning Pantry.

And, of course, thanks to my wife Vera for, as always, helping me every step of the way!

All material in this post © Harold Ross 2015

Images from the Biltmore Estate – Part 4

•May 3, 2015 • 5 Comments

One of the interesting things about the Biltmore House is the abundance of color. There is color everywhere… in paintings, tapestries, furniture and fabric. In the Banquet Hall, color is seen throughout almost the entire room. Interestingly, I was drawn to a scene in that enormous room which is virtually monochromatic. At one end of the Hall is a series of three very large niches, each holding a collection of 18th- and 19th-century copper and brass vessels from Holland, France and Spain.

These niches are roughly 18 feet high, and made of ornately carved wood. I decided to photograph the center one of the three.

The Banquet Hall Display Niches

Harold Ross's light painted image of the Biltmore Banquet Hall Niche

Photograph by Harold Ross

The scalloped carvings in particular are quite amazing. As I was on top of my 12′ ladder while light painting, I looked carefully at them, and I just couldn’t imagine the level of craftsmanship required to carve these intricate shapes. Jim Ryan, a man who knows a lot about everything, explained how difficult it is just to lay out something like those scallops.

The lions’ heads, at roughly 18″, are very imposing, especially from just a few feet away from them, in the dark!

Here, you can get a sense for the skill needed to create these intricately carved features.

Harold Ross's light painted image of the Biltmore Banquet Hall Niche (detail)

Photograph by Harold Ross

Photographing this scene took some time, as it is very large and quite complex. I must have gone up and down the ladder 100 times!

In this video clip, I am lighting the right-hand column from the 12 foot ladder. You can get a sense for how large this wall actually is!

Here is a detail showing the beautiful 18th and 19th century European vessels of copper and brass:

Harold Ross's light painted image of the Biltmore Banquet Hall Niche (detail)

Photograph by Harold Ross

On the second floor, there is the most unusual gilded “cassone” or chest, made in Italy in the 1800s. The front of the chest houses a beautifully painted tooled leather panel, and the clawed feet are remarkable.

Vera is a fan of Harrison Ford and the Indiana Jones movies, so we couldn’t help but to refer to this unusual piece as “The Ark of the Covenant”. Above the “Ark” is the painting The Waltz by Anders Zorn (1860-1920). Flanking the painting are two very large ornate gilded sconces.

The Italian Cassone

Harold Ross's light painted image of the Biltmore Ark Chest

Photograph by Harold Ross

As with many of the images we shot at the Biltmore, the scale just isn’t apparent (this is a phenomenon I’ve noticed in other light painted images I’ve made in the past), but keep in mind that the chest is roughly 7 feet in length!

Detail of the cassone with its painted tooled leather.

Harold Ross's light painted image of the Biltmore Ark Chest (detail)

Photograph by Harold Ross

In this detail, we see one of the gilded sconces.

Harold Ross's light painted image of the Biltmore Ark Chest (detail of sconce)

Photograph by Harold Ross

Photographing at the Biltmore House was a terrific experience.

A huge THANKS to Jim Ryan who made this project possible, and who spent many late hours with me shooting and doing post production.

And, for logistical help on the shoot, thanks to Laura Overbey, Collections Manager at the Biltmore, who helped us coordinate everything, and stayed late for us while we shot the Banquet Hall image.

Thanks to Renee Jolly of Museum Services, who assisted us in the image of the Ark Chest.

And, of course, thanks to my wife Vera for, as always, helping me every step of the way!

Stay tuned as we publish more images from the Biltmore House!

All material in this post © Harold Ross 2015

Images from the Biltmore Estate – Part 3

•April 28, 2015 • 6 Comments

Mr. Vanderbilt’s bedroom is amazing… while shooting there, I imagined what it would have been like to wake up in this room each morning. Ornate furnishings, gold metallic wallpaper, European etchings and intricate hand crafted sconces all conspire to make this room without equal in terms of its richness. We decided to make two images here, but in this post, we will feature the first one that we completed.

Mr. Vanderbilt’s Bedroom

Light painted photograph of Mr. Vanderbilt's Bedroom by Harold Ross

Photograph by Harold Ross

In this detail, one can appreciate the craftsmanship that went into the making of the dresser and the wall sconce.

Detail of Light painted photograph of Mr. Vanderbilt's Bedroom by Harold Ross

Photograph by Harold Ross

The Second Floor Living Hall is near the fireplace featured in the previous installment of the Biltmore images. It is, as is everything at the Biltmore House, a beautiful room, but the thing that really caught my eye was the gorgeous hand carved yellow velvet settee. Flanking this amazing piece of furniture are two important portraits by John Singer Sargent. The portrait on the left is of Richard Morris Hunt, the architect of Biltmore House. The one on the right is of Frederick Law Olmsted, the noted designer of the grounds who was also known for designing Central Park in New York. The blue vases are 19th century Chinese porcelain.

The Second Floor Living Hall

Light painted photograph of the Second Floor Living Hall by Harold Ross

Photograph by Harold Ross

The image is a little deceiving in terms of scale. In this video, you can get a sense for just how large the paintings and settee really are. (If you look carefully, you can see Jim Ryan in the mirror!)

 The beautiful intricate carving of the settee is enhanced by light painting.

Detail of Light painted photograph of the Second Floor Living Hall by Harold Ross

Photograph by Harold Ross

Light Painting at the Biltmore House was a fantastic experience.

Again, a huge THANKS to Jim Ryan who made this project possible, and who spent many late hours with me shooting and doing post production.

And, for logistical help on the shoot, thanks to Laura Overbey, Collections Manager at the Biltmore, who helped us coordinate everything, and stayed late for us while shooting Mr. Vanderbilt’s Bedroom.

For the Second Floor Living Hall images, Renee Jolly of Museum Services.

And, of course, thanks to my wife Vera for, as always, helping me every step of the way!

Stay tuned as we publish more images from the Biltmore House!

All material in this post © Harold Ross 2015

Images from the Biltmore Estate – Part 2

•April 21, 2015 • 5 Comments

At the Biltmore House, there is an almost overwhelming number of beautiful and ornate objects. Paintings, bronzes, and one of a kind hand-made furniture are everywhere. The Oak Sitting Room really exemplifies this density of rich furnishings. Only Mr. Vanderbilt’s bedroom (which we photographed, and which will be featured in a future post) exceeds the level of detail found in this room.

Jim Ryan and I agreed that the Oak Sitting Room was a “must-do” on our list of things to photograph!

Here I am going over a capture with Jim Ryan and Kara Warren:

Photographer Harold Ross light paints Biltmore Oak Sitting Room

Photograph by Vera Ross

This room is full of the most interesting things… but the centerpiece is the large ebony hand-carved cabinet-on-stand, which was crafted in Belgium in the 1600s. Behind the inlaid parquetry doors is a classically inspired miniature scene; a loggia with gold statues, marbleized columns and a frescoed ceiling, all overlooking a trompe-l’oeil landscape.

Next to the unique cabinet is a painting by John Singer Sargent of George Vanderbilt’s aunt, Mrs. Benjamin Kissam.

The room is between Mr. Vanderbilt’s and Mrs. Vanderbilt’s bedrooms, and served as a private sitting room for the couple.

The Oak Sitting Room

Harold Ross's light painted photograph of the Biltmore House Oak Sitting Room

Photograph by Harold Ross

A video clip showing me light painting the vase using a scrim and LED panel, a great solution for lighting reflective subjects:

A detail of the beautifully crafted miniature scene inside the cabinet:

Biltmore Oak Sitting Room Cabinet Detail

Photograph by Harold Ross

 The lovely inlaid chest and bronze figures below the Sargent painting:

Biltmore Oak Sitting Room Credenza detail

Photograph by Harold Ross

When walking through the Biltmore “scouting”, in order to decide what to photograph, we found ourselves in the Family Sitting Room, which we later photographed (I’ll feature that image in a future post), but to one side of the room is the most unusual fireplace (one of 65 in the house), and I was drawn to photograph it as soon as I saw it. I’ve always loved the color combination of gray and yellow, and that is one of the reasons I wanted to photograph this fireplace!

The Family Sitting Room Fireplace

Harold Ross's light painted photograph of the Biltmore Family Fireplace

Photograph by Harold Ross

The mantel is intricately carved:

Harold Ross's light painted photograph of the Biltmore Family Fireplace detail 1

Photograph by Harold Ross

A video clip showing the lighting of part of the fireplace. I’m using a 5″x24″ LED panel, powered by a belt mounted battery pack, and you can see the computer that I’m using for tethered capture. The trick is to learn to see the buildup of light over time, which takes some practice:

The massive cast iron reflective fireback:

Harold Ross's light painted photograph of the Biltmore Family Fireplace detail 2

Photograph by Harold Ross

What an amazing experience it was to light paint at the Biltmore House!

A huge THANKS to Jim Ryan who made this project possible, and who spent many late hours with me shooting and doing post production.

And, for logistical help on the shoot, thanks to Laura Overbey, Collections Manager at the Biltmore, who helped us coordinate everything, and stayed late for us;

For the Oak Sitting Room image, Aaron Hunt of Engineering Services, who managed house lights and stayed late; and Kara Warren of Museum Services, who also stayed late to assist us.

For the Fireplace image, Renee Jolly of Museum Services (Renee actually helped restore the fireplace), who stayed late to assist us, and Trip Hudgins and Adam Austin of Engineering Services for nudging the fireplace reflector plate, no easy task!

And, of course, thanks to my wife Vera for, as always, helping me every step of the way!

Stay tuned as we publish more images from the Biltmore House!

All material in this post © Harold Ross 2015

Images from the Biltmore Estate – Part 1

•April 16, 2015 • 18 Comments

Biltmore_approach

Photograph by Vera Ross

A few months ago, fellow photographer Jim Ryan and I were able to light paint at the Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina. Jim, who lives in Greenville, South Carolina, was able to garner access for us (no small feat!), and we were able to shoot at night (a good thing for light painting). We spent three nights shooting a dozen images, and although challenging, it was a very fun and memorable experience. To be in that amazing place with no visitors around, and in the dark, was incredible! I am so excited to finally be able to share these images with you!

I’ll be doing a series of posts about all 12 images, and I’ll discuss some of the behind-the-scenes details of the shoot. I’ll be doing a new post roughly once a week, each featuring one or two images, so stay tuned!

During the time leading up to the shoot, we had an arduous task; to narrow down just a few photographic subjects from an overwhelming number of choices. Since we only had three nights, and since light painting takes longer than other types of photography, this was certainly a challenge, but we both immediately decided that photographing in the Great Banquet Hall was a must. During a visit to the Biltmore many years ago, the Banquet Hall embedded itself into my memory… the 70 foot high ceiling, the huge dining table which sits 64 guests, the hand carved chairs upholstered in red velvet, and the beautiful tapestries which line the hall.

On one end of the room are three enormous fireplaces. On the other, a large three-sectioned wall with ornate hand carved details and arched niches display beautiful old European copper and brass vessels. An image of this wall will be in a future post.

Along the back wall of the Banquet Hall are two intricately carved thrones, flanked by the aforementioned 450 year-old Flemish tapestries.

The Grand Banquet Hall Throne.

Harold Ross Light Paints the Biltmore Dining Hall Throne

 Photograph by Harold Ross

The images shot at the Biltmore were quite challenging, and this one was no exception. The throne is very tall. I had to light paint a lot of it from the top of a 12 foot ladder, and in my way of lighting, the light must come from a particular direction and be moved in a certain way to create a look of softness and depth at the same time. This is no easy task, and it involves holding a large LED panel, powered by a belt mounted battery belt, while balancing on the ladder, in the dark. All of this while using light to “sculpt” the subject, enhancing its detail and depth. I certainly got a workout going up and down the ladder for each capture while using tethering software in order to check the image on the computer. At the end of the video clip, you can hear me asking Jim how the capture looks before I make yet another trip down the ladder.

This video clip gives the viewer a sense of just how large the throne is!  

A detail of the tapestries and carvings.

Harold Ross's light painted image of the Banquet Hall Throne (detail)

 Photograph by Harold Ross

Of course, sculpting with light allows me to bring out a great deal of detail, but one of the challenges of Biltmore House is that there is detail everywhere. Every square inch is filled with something interesting. It actually reminded me, although on a different scale, of the Dutch Painters’ genre “Pronkstilleven” which translates to “Ostentatious Still Life”. These were paintings that were filled to the brim with lavish man-made objects.

 A detail showing the hand painted silk inlays and intricate wood carvings.

Biltmore Dining Hall Throne detail

Photograph by Harold Ross

The Smoking Room, size-wise, is diametrically opposed to the Great Banquet Hall. It is a small room, with an intimate feeling, and this is where George Vanderbilt spent time with a book and a cigar or pipe. It is a masculine space, and it’s obvious that Mr. Vanderbilt probably spent quite a few hours here with friends, all wearing their elaborate smoking jackets. For me, the fireplace (one of 65 in the house), guarded by an ever-watchful owl, is the “centerpiece” of the room.

The Smoking Room.

Biltmore Smoking Room

Photograph by Harold Ross

Here is a video clip showing the lighting of the mantel. Although it may look easy, what isn’t apparent is that I’m “seeing” the buildup of light over time. This is a skill that requires practice!

Light painting brings out the exquisite details of the feathers.

Biltmore Smoking Room Detail

Photograph by Harold Ross

Detail of the carved stone mantel and bookcase.

Biltmore Smoking Room Detail

Photograph by Harold Ross

A huge THANK YOU! goes out to Jim Ryan who made this project possible, and who spent many late hours with me shooting and doing post production.

Vera and I are forever grateful for having had this opportunity, Jim!

And, for logistical help on the shoot, thanks to Laura Overbey, Collections Manager at the Biltmore, who helped us coordinate everything, and stayed late for us;

For the Banquet Hall images, Trip Hudgins of Engineering Services, who crawled into that teeny tiny spot in the attic to reach the fuse to turn off the chandeliers in the Banquet Hall; and Lenore Hardin of Museum Services, who also stayed late to assist us.

And, of course, thanks to my wife Vera for, as always, helping me every step of the way!

Stay tuned as we publish more images from the Biltmore House!

All material in this post © Harold Ross 2015

 
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