Out of Chicago Live! April 9-11, 2021

•February 28, 2021 • 6 Comments

Hi everyone!

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ll be participating in the Out Of Chicago LIVE event this year! Due to the pandemic, it will be a webinar event, and I’m quite excited, as there are so many great photographers (and several of them are friends) participating! Please join us for what promises to be a fun and valuable learning experience.

 

Out Of Chicago LIVE! 2021 April 9-11

 

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From Out Of Chicago’s website:

Connect, engage and energize your photography alongside the world’s best photographers.

This live, 3-day, interactive conference is where you learn, share and get feedback from the pros. With 100+ sessions to choose from covering a wide range of genres, from landscape and nature, to travel, street, architecture, and post-processing, immerse yourself in new ways to improve your photography. Don’t miss out on this special, once-a-year, event where over 40 leading photographers gather, in one place and at one time, to connect and share their discoveries from the past year. Register and be part of a community as passionate about photography as you are.

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Attendees can choose from about 100 different sessions during the three day event. Click HERE for the entire list of instructors

Light Painting Photographer Harold Ross's light painted photograph "Pewter Bowl and Marble"

“Pewter Bowl and Marble”
Photograph by Harold Ross

During the event, I’ll be giving a presentation on (what else?) my methods and use of Light Painting. More akin to painting or sculpture, I use the light in a very controlled way, in order to optimize lighting to a higher degree than normally possible. This optimization results in a great level of depth, dimension, and detail in the images.

My presentation will delve into what I believe is a powerful image-making process. As many of you know, I’ve been light painting for 30 years. That means, of course, that I was using the technique with film (and because I was a commercial advertising photographer, it was transparency film…talk about challenging!).

After 30 years of practicing and perfecting, I am still excited every time I make an image. In my presentation, I’ll touch on why this method of working has held my interest for so many years. One of the main reasons is that I consider it to be so transformative. All photographic genres are transformative, of course, but in my work, I attempt to use the incredible power of light alone in order to transform the ordinary subject into something remarkable. I believe that by simply revealing the full essence of a subject, we can get across to the viewers of the image the spirit of it.

I’ll explain the tools I use (very few and inexpensive) and you’ll learn why such simple tools can be so effective. I’ll also discuss the lighting tools that I use in my landscape light painting work.

Also, as part of my presentation, I’ll discuss my “Six Principles of Light”, a technical talk, which gets across what I feel are the most important physical properties of light and how they relate to light painting. You’ll learn why light painting is the only method where we get the benefits of a smaller light source while retaining the beauty of a larger light source.

Of course, I’ll be using examples of my work to illustrate these important points.

So, mark your calendar and register for this exciting event!

Workshop Students: Image Review

•February 18, 2021 • 18 Comments

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First of all, I want to say that it has been way too long since I posted my students’ images created during my in-person workshops, remote workshops, and remote advanced training.

Although it seems counter-intuitive, with the various lockdowns due to Covid, things have never been busier for me, and I just haven’t been able to get to this until now. Finally, and with my apologies, here is the student image review.

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We probably all agree that 2020 was a difficult year. With the Covid-19 pandemic, all of our lives have changed in one way or another.

As for me, it has certainly affected my workshop teaching, and in some unexpected ways.

I have taught remote workshops for a number of years, and although many students have travelled here from all around the world (for which I am very gratified), there were some people who chose not to make the long journey here, and so, I taught them remotely.

Due to Covid-19, however, several students who had signed up in the beginning of the pandemic decided to take the workshop remotely. This has turned out to work very well!

Instead of three very intensive days of working closely together, the remote workshop is broken up into more sessions (and shorter ones), and so these remote workshops may take place over weeks, and in some cases, months.

And, I’ve added “Master Class” training for my past students, designed to go even deeper into the nuances of lighting and post production.

It turns out that learning remotely is a good situation for certain people. Some people prefer to take time to digest the huge amount of information a little bit at a time, and working on their own, they are able to think through the issues and nuances that I teach them in a more relaxed manner.

Also, I am once again so pleased and surprised to see the images that students create. This is one of the most rewarding things about teaching. In the remote workshops, the students create their own compositions, and so, the images are even more “out of the ordinary” than the in-person workshops, where students are, in general, photographing objects from my prop collection. Since I have a finite (if large) collection of props, there is some repetition of singular elements in the in-person workshops. A word about my image-making… I developed a process which uses light in a very sculptural (and painterly) way. It is a process that I’ve been perfecting for over 30 years, and it allows me (and my students) to create a tremendous amount of depth, dimension and detail in photographic imagery.

– Harold

On to the images…

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Bob Hawkins (Ohio), a returning student, travelled here for another workshop, and later in this post, you’ll see several more of his images. Bob and I have developed a comfortable working relationship over the last few years, and so, at this workshop, we hit the ground running! As an advanced student, Bob often brings along his own subjects (which I always enjoy), and as a fan of old machinery and tools, I was certainly happy to work on these subjects while teaching Bob the nuances of light painting.

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Bob Hawkins

Photography by Bob Hawkins

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Kevin Egan and Mike Whalen (Virginia) are friends who decided to take the in-person workshop together. I really do enjoy it when friends attend, as there is already a camaraderie between them, so things run smoothly (and are fun!) from the beginning.

Both photographers did very well with learning the application of light, as well as how different surfaces and subjects require different lighting approaches. Also, both did quite well with the post production. They came to the workshop with a good amount of experience, but neither had done a lot of layer grouping (a simple yet powerful tool that I always teach), so that was certainly beneficial to both. I also enjoyed teaching them about the Fade Tool, and how I use it in a counter-intuitive way to create soft sculptural masks.

Mike very much enjoyed applying light to the inside of the vinegar bottle, and some of the intricate details brought out by the lighting. The end result is beautiful… good work, Mike!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Mike Whalen

Photograph by Mike Whalen

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I’ve always believed that simpler images have the potential to be stronger images than do complex ones. Both Mike and Kevin resisted the urge to make overly-complex images, and they both “kept it simple”.

That said, Kevin, at the end-of-workshop critique, felt as though he included too many reflective objects. On the contrary, I saw this as an opportunity to teach the nuances of lighting “glossy” subjects like glass and shiny metal. In any case, Kevin did a great job with the highly reflective surfaces!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Kevin Eagan

Photograph by Kevin Egan

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Allan Mendez (California) decided to take a “commercial” remote workshop with me. The commercial workshop that I offer is longer and more involved than the normal one, and it covers more technical information about the use of selections, advanced masking methods, and some of the technical criteria involved with producing images for advertising, which is a demanding occupation!

As an artist already doing commercial photography, mainly shooting food, Allan came to the workshop with a vision and approach that was already well developed. It was my great pleasure to work with him on lighting and  post production techniques to further his goal of creating high end advertising imagery. Allan also has a real talent for procuring unique and beautiful props for his photographs, and as a fan of classical painting, he likes to say that he may go “baroque” purchasing them! As a punster myself, I told him that he then may not have the Monet to buy DeGas to make the Van Gogh. ;-) This image, the end result of some pretty intense work, is gorgeous. Given Allan’s eye for composition, and his skillset and passion for photography, I am sure that he’ll enjoy even more success at commercial photography!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Allan Mendez

Photograph by Allan Mendez

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Dan Bame (Oregon) chose to photograph elements that would be used in cooking, and he kiddingly called this image “Sauce”. This was a fun composition to work with… the bottle is so beautiful, and there was discussion about whether to keep the end of the wooden “shelf” in the crop. I suggested that this is an element that we see a lot in Old Master paintings, and that it was a device used by them to enhance the feeling of perspective, so Dan decided to keep it in. There was also discussion about the fabric, and Dan decided to add it as a “softening” element. I really like the color scheme of this image. Great work, Dan!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Dan Bame

Photograph by Dan Bame

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Susan Oberreither (Pennsylvania), is a collector of unusual things. I certainly identify with that! She is drawn to unusual vintage things (she owns a classic Volkswagen Bus, of which I am quite envious!), and I’m so glad that she brought something to the workshop that I had never seen before… a nut cracker which uses a cam mechanism! I am quite fond of vintage machinery, and seeing this interesting apparatus really made my day. Susan also brought along a monogrammed kitchen towel, which gave the image a bit of personalization! The flow of this composition is fantastic, and her choice of background is perfect, in my opinion. I love this image, Susan!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Susan Oberreither

Photograph by Susan Oberreither

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Vicki Wert and Barb Pennington (Ohio), are also friends! As I said above, I really enjoy teaching people who already have a friendship.

Vicki mentioned that she has a collection of glass at home, and so she immediately was drawn to this Italian segmented decanter. Like many of my students, she was quite interested in learning how to light highly reflective objects. Vicki expressed how it was much easier than she thought it would be! Some things may seem difficult and daunting, but once one is taught the proper technique, it’s actually fairly easy! The results speak for themselves. Good work, Vicki!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Vicki Wert

Photography by Vicki Wert

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Barb Pennington was concerned about doing well with new concepts, both in lighting and in post production. This is normal! As I always like to say to my students, it is much easier to deal with a huge amount of new information by taking it one piece at a time. To that point, I suggest concentrating solely on lighting when doing the shoot, and not worrying about the post production until later! In fact, the methods I teach in lighting are “liberating” because (and this is counter-intuitive), we are not overly concerned with the final aesthetic of the lighting of the image when shooting! Aesthetic decisions about relative brightness and many other things happen in the post production phase. Barb created a composition inspired by her Italian heritage. And, since I am married to someone half Italian, I certainly appreciate that. I think Barb did a great job!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Barb Pennington

Photograph by Barb Pennington

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Mark Gittleman (Pennsylvania) chose some of my favorites from the studio prop collection (and yes, I am a self-admitted hoarder of vintage objects). One of my very favorite objects, this orange industrial caster wheel, is almost a work of art in itself. Mark found that it was a great object with which to learn light painting techniques! Due to the differing angles, and the fact that it is somewhat reflective, it presented a large number of challenges. The bottle also is unusual; highly reflective on the outside, and having quite a patina on the inside. Mark “pushed” light through the bottle to get the inside illuminated, and he used the glass lighting technique that I teach to create that beautiful soft reflection on the outside. Nice work, Mark!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Mark Gittleman

Photograph by Mark Gittleman

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Bob Hawkins (Ohio) returned for another One-on-One workshop, and we were able to shoot two images.

Bob brought along an amazing old (and large!) industrial pulley to photograph, and together, we decided to make a “monumental” or “iconic” image of this 40 pound artifact. We thought that by adding the pristine vintage watch, we could give a sense of scale, revealing just how large the pulley is! I believe that when we look at something through the “lens” of very descriptive lighting, and image editing (through specific masking techniques), we can, in some ways, capture the “spirit” of an inanimate object by rendering its very essence. I think this image may do that!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Bob Hawkins

Photograph by Bob Hawkins

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Bob also brought along a beautiful leather journal, which he worked into this lovely composition. The simple color scheme is beautiful, and through the use of proper angle, distance and motion of the light, he brought out the subtle textures that are present throughout the image. Excellent work, Bob!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Bob Hawkins

Photograph by Bob Hawkins

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Charlie Marley (Pennsylvania) wanted to learn how to light a vehicle at night, but I am currently only teaching studio work, so we decided to shoot a vintage metal truck model, but to try to give it an outdoor look. Basically, the only difference is the size of the actual light source. Lighting methods and post production are identical. Charlie included a background image of a photograph that he shot of Comet Neowise , which was discovered in March of 2020. Charlie and I had a lot of fun shooting this, and I was so glad to see him use his own image as the background. We also had fun creating the light for the headlights! Well done, Charlie!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Charlie Marley

Photograph by Charlie Marley

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Donna Dobbs (Michigan) was drawn to photograph some of my pewter collection, one of my very favorite subjects. There is something about the beautiful aged patina, combined with the slightly reflective, neutral metal. Even the little salt shaker has a pewter top. Donna did a great job with this composition, and I really like the simple color scheme she came up with. The pitcher itself is a wonderful subject for instruction, as it has quite a few different shapes going on, each one requiring a certain approach with the lighting. Excellent work, Donna!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Donna Dobbs

Photograph by Donna Dobbs

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Tyler Byun (New Jersey) also chose to photograph pewter as part of his composition. His composition is very formal, yet it has a good deal of interest, and the color scheme is quite nice. Tyler, as is the case with most of my students, was a bit surprised at the huge amount of information taught at the workshop. It is intensive, and at the end, it feels a bit as though one just completed a marathon! This is certainly true, but I do provide a large amount of backup information in the form of written information and some custom made tutorial videos created for my students. And, as Tyler said during our end-of-workshop critique, it is a lot of learning, but the end result is worth it. I couldn’t agree more, Tyler!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Tyler Byun

Photography by Tyler Byun

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Bob Hawkins also worked with me remotely as he wanted to make a “Fall season” image with Pumpkins. Or, more accurately, Jack-O’-Lanterns. This was more of a challenge than it first appears, with some internal lighting combined with the external lighting, which can be tricky. Bob spent a lot of time working on the acorns and leaves, but I certainly think that time spent perfecting an image is time well spent! Bob really used his gourd on this image, and the final result is terrific!

 

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Bob Hawkins

Photography by Bob Hawkins

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Susan Oberreither (Pennsylvania) decided to come back for a one-day refresher course. Since she already had the basics down, we were able to jump right in to creating the composition. There wasn’t time to do the post production, so Susan did it after returning home, working with me remotely. This is a very special grouping of elements, which Susan brought along; it is a serving set for the dining cars of the Missouri Pacific Railroad Line. The silver plated items are so beautiful, but of course, that glimmering silver also creates lighting challenges! We worked most of the day just to get the still life photographed. I LOVE the “hit” of red from those beautiful pomegranates in an otherwise almost monochromatic image!

Photograph by Susan Oberreither

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Maria DeKoker and Doug Hall are friends who travelled here from Washington State.

Maria created a very unusual composition! I like to say that one of the greatest pleasures of teaching is to see the combinations of objects that my students come up with! We’ve all heard the term “matchy-matchy” as a negative, yet fun reference to the natural tendency of humans to put things together that go together. In my own work, I love to play with disparate elements, so I was very pleased to see Maria’s eclectic grouping. I was also happy that she chose to photograph something very meaningful to me; a pencil sharpener that was given to me by my father. Along with it, she placed a surgical clamp, a holder for industrial stamps, a leaf and a marble. It’s such a fun construction. These differing elements certainly provided a variety of lighting challenges. Great work, Maria!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Maria DeKoker

Photograph by Maria DeKoker

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Doug Hall’s image contains some of my favorite props, and I really like his arrangement. There is that fantastic cast iron wheel, along with a small oil can from my collection, and some other industrial artifacts. Lighting this was a challenge, given the differences in scale and reflection of the objects. The little gear itself represented no small task to light! I could go on, but I think the image speaks for itself. Great work, Doug!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Doug Hall

Photograph by Doug Hall

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Randy Kostichka (Wisconsin) had fun. He found my little collection of toy blocks, and to my amazement (because there are only a handful of them), he was able to find all of the letters he needed! In this image, I do like the extreme difference in surface quality between the very rough toy blocks and the ultra-smooth glass marbles. This image speaks to the child in us… if we could only recapture those days when our focus was only on toys! I sensed that Randy almost felt that as we reviewed the image at the critique! Great work, Randy.

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Randy Kostichka

Photograph by Randy Kostichka

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Jackie Sajewski (Ohio) created an image that has such a beautiful flow. I just love how the eucalyptus acts as a “framing element” and arches over the pomegranates, and those two colors work so well together! In fact, the color scheme of this image is fabulous. Jackie learned that pomegranates are challenging… they are at the same time textural, yet quite reflective, and that always creates questions… do we light them as purely reflective, like glass? Or, do we light them as having a matte patina, like the pewter? Or, better yet… do we light them both ways and then combine those? The answer is implied in the last question, of course! In any case, Jackie did a terrific job with the entire image.

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Jackie Sajewski

Photograph by Jackie Sajewski

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Jeff Puckett (Colorado) took his workshop remotely. Covid was a huge concern, and we both felt that a remote workshop was best. Jeff brought a good deal of passion for photography to the table, and he very handily adapted to the muscle-memory and coordination needed to apply light in an effective way (the man pilots a helicopter, so you know he has lots of hand-eye coordination!) One major difference between an in-person workshop and a remote one is that, of course, the student provides their own subject matter. When Jeff mentioned that one of the elements had special meaning to him, I assumed that it was the beautiful water pitcher. Instead, I learned that the dried orange is something he found in his high school locker when cleaning it out decades ago! And I thought I was a “collector”! Love this image, Jeff!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Jeff Puckett

Photograph by Jeff Puckett

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Meathead Goldwynn (Chicago, and yes, “Meathead” is his nom de plume) is a well known chef, wine critic and author. He has written a NYT best seller, as well as many articles, and is highly regarded as one of the most knowledgable people in the world of Bar-B-Q, as well as cooking in general. Meathead wanted to improve his light painting methodology (he has been light painting for a awhile), and so, he scheduled an in-person workshop with me, but due to the pandemic, we “converted” it to a remote one. It was great working with him, as he was already quite skilled in Photoshop and photography in general. He is currently producing a book which will feature his light-painted images of food. I highly recommend his book on Grilling and Barbecue HERE.

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Meathead Goldwyn

Photograph by Meathead Goldwyn

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Canice Dunphy (Ireland) has travelled here to attend several workshops in the past. We have developed a great working relationship (and friendship) over the years, and I am so impressed with his dedication to learning the nuances of lighting, as well as the masking techniques in post production, and his studies with me are in the “Master Class” category (returning students who want to go deeper into my image-making process). This year, however, due to the pandemic, he decided to take a remote series of training sessions. Canice has, like me, a real appreciation for unusual vintage objects and he has a knack for finding things that I’ve never seen before! Also, I love the whimsical feeling of his images. The subjects seem to be alive! Nice work, Canice!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Canice Dunphy

Photograph by Canice Dunphy

 

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Canice Dunphy

Photograph by Canice Dunphy

 

 

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Canice Dunphy

Photograph by Canice Dunphy

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Irina Nekrasova (California) was such a pleasure to work with. She brought an artist’s creative mindset to the workshop, and I could tell that she was already visually sensitive, something that is so helpful to any working artist, of course. In this image, I love her props, and there is a real variety of shapes and surface qualities. This provides a good learning ground for light painting, and Irina handled this variety very well. As simple as they seem, the brushes were quite challenging, but the final result is gorgeous. Great job, Irina!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Irena Nekrasova

Photograph by Irina Nekrasova

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Mark V’Soske (North Carolina) took a “Master Class” workshop, as he is an alumni, and wanted to “brush up” and go deeper into some things. The Master Class allows me to teach prior students the even finer nuances of both lighting and post production. Mark’s image is beautiful; I love the subtle coloration and the formal, yet relaxed composition. It really has an old-world feel, and each element in the image provided an opportunity for Mark to learn and develop a more thorough understanding of how light works, as well as how we create depth and dimension with it. I love teaching the Master Class, as we are able to focus in on issues that the student needs, as well as delving into new areas that the student wants. This is quite rewarding for me personally. Gorgeous image, Mark!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Mark V'Soske

Photograph by Mark V’Soske

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Linda Flicker (Oregon) also attended (remotely) a Master Class. As a returning student, she wanted to further hone the skills that she developed in the first workshop with me. Linda is so great to work with; she had specific goals in mind and we approached them directly! The image is very nice, and her choice of background really works. I believe that backgrounds should stay in the background, and one of several things that we can do to make that happen is to choose a background color that recedes. We tend to sense warm colors as coming forward, and cool colors as receding, so this concept works quite well here, especially given the warmth of the wine and the fabric and the old crate. Linda wanted to learn more about lighting glass and specifically, glass with colored liquid, and I think she did a terrific job. I also really love the scarf that Linda used as a major element in the image, and the way in which she positioned it in the composition.  Nice work, Linda!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Linda Flicker

Photograph by Linda Flicker

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Another remote student, Alec Peck (Massachusetts) was also interested in learning to light glass and reflective metal. I love the subjects, especially the tall brass grinder and the very unusual vase. Both presented challenges; the curvature of the vase required a bit more attention in the lighting, given the various contours. One of the “Six Principles of Lighting” that I teach is that the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence. This means that we have to place the light in a position that reflects onto the surfaces as we desire. Sometimes, this is not so easy, as in this case! Alec first photographed the grinder using a small diffused flashlight, as it seemed to have some patina, but we discovered that it was actually quite reflective. Therefore, it ended up having to be lit with a softer light source. Great job, Alec!

Photograph by Harold Ross Light Painting Photography Workshop student Alec Peck

Photograph by Alec Peck

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I like to say that the workshop is not about making a masterpiece, but instead, it is designed to teach a process and a way of thinking about light. I believe that my process, which uses light as a method of “sculpting” the subject, is very transformative, and the images of ordinary objects shot by my students is a testament to that.

For workshop information please click HERE .

All images from students over the years are HERE.

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Featured Photographer of the Month – Digital Transitions

•January 8, 2021 • 9 Comments

As always, if you’re viewing this in an email, please click the title of this post to see the blog, which offers a better viewing experience.

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I’m so excited to be featured as the Photographer of the Month by Digital Transitions, a long-time and well-respected source for all things Medium Format.

A big thanks to all of the folks there!

In particular, Lance Schad and Wayne Cozzolino have been a dependable source of technical advice, equipment recommendations and software support for many years! It’s gratifying to have a long term relationship with people who have such extensive knowledge, which they are always willing to share!

Please check out the article HERE.

Light Painting Photographer Harold Ross Featured in Digital Transitions

 

For workshop information please click HERE .

All images from students over the years are HERE.

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Photography by Harold Ross

Medium Format Magazine – December 2020 Edition!

•December 7, 2020 • 8 Comments

As always, if you’re viewing this in an email, please click the title of this post to see my blog, which offers a better viewing experience.

I’m delighted to be featured again in  Medium Format Magazine!

The magazine is a beautifully designed publication dedicated to many genres of photography, with a focus on medium and large format. I urge you to take a look at the website, and consider subscribing!

And please visit their BLOG for articles and lots of great information on photographic vision and gear.

Medium Format Magazine December 2020 Issue with an article by Light Painting Photographer Harold Ross

Cover photograph by Richard Thomson III

The magazine is full of beautiful and inspirational photographic work and also has some great educational articles.

The December issue was just recently published and I wanted to share the news with everyone. Although focused on medium and large format, the articles and features will be of interest to any photographer. It is mainly subscriber supported, and so, there are very few ads, and there are over 100 pages of photographic content.

 

Medium Format Magazine December 2020 Issue Table of Contents with an article by Light Painting Photographer Harold Ross

My article is called “The Sculptural Nature of Light”, and focuses on the body of work that I call “STILL”.

 

Medium Format Magazine December 2020 Issue Preview of an article by Light Painting Photographer Harold Ross

 

 

In addition to the magazine, the website mediumformat.com, has free articles on gear, photographic vision, and other news. Make sure to go to the menu on the upper right of the page to navigate the BLOG.

From their website: “If you are a medium format photographer or planning to become one, you are in the right place. You will find exclusive content from the best medium format photographers in the world such as Nick Brandt, Ming Thein, Cooper & Gorfer, Marc Koegel, Michael E. Gordon, Harold Ross, Jonas Rask and many more. This is the place where visual ideas are thriving and prompting new ways of seeing and creating imagery. Make sure to subscribe and join us on this exciting medium format journey!”

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To see more of my work, please visit my website HERE.

For my workshop information please click HERE .

All images from my students over the years are HERE.

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Join me for the Cape Cod Art Center’s ZOOM seminar this Saturday Oct. 31st – 10:00 am EST

•October 27, 2020 • 2 Comments

As always, if you’re viewing this in an email, please click the title of this post to see the blog, which offers a better viewing experience.

If you are free this Saturday, please join me for a ZOOM presentation, hosted by the Cape Cod Art Center’s annual CLICK Photography Seminars!

Light Painted Image "Sunflower" by Photographer Harold Ross

Photograph by Harold Ross

This is a series of four seminars, with each speaker being featured on a different Saturday. In addition to myself, the speakers are David H. Wells, Tony Sweet and Rad Drew.

The description and dates from Cape Cod’s Website:

October 31 – Sculpting with Light: Light Painting Still Lifes, Landscapes & More with Harold Ross fine-art photographer Harold Ross will show you light painting techniques to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

November 7Mastering Found light: Light, Shadow, Night and Twilight. Learn all about light from visual storyteller David H. Wells.

November 14Visual Artistry with Tony Sweet discover how Tony approaches composition to find the essence of an image. You’ll then have chance to have him critique and edit one of your photographs.

December 5Rad Drew   –  Creating with Topaz Studio 2 and related Topaz Tools Rad Drew will take you through a workflow using the creative tools of the Topaz Studio plus the powerful DeNoise AI, Sharpen AI, and Mask AI.

You can sign up for all four, or you can sign up for individual seminars. For more information and pricing, Click HERE

As for me, I’ll be giving a (roughly) 90 minute presentation on my work and my image-making process (see description below).

Light Painted image "Still Life with Blood Oranges and Grapes" by Photographer Harold Ross

Photograph by Harold Ross

The description of my presentation from the CCAC website:

Join noted fine-art photographer Harold Ross for a presentation of his Light Sculpting process, a technique that he has been perfecting for 30 years. He will show you how his photographic methods using the technique of light painting can transform the ordinary into the remarkable. Harold will explain the tools needed, the advantages of light painting, and the Six Principles of Light that he feels are essential to mastering lighting. He’ll also touch on the amazing power of enhancing dimension and depth through specialized (yet simple) masking techniques in Photoshop. These masking methods, which Harold teaches in his workshops, are akin to painting and drawing, and are not taught as photographic techniques anywhere else. This will be an information-packed program. Be prepared to be inspired!

Hope to see you there! – Harold

For my workshop information please click HERE .

All images from students over the years are HERE.

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Now take my Light Painting Workshop while at home!

•October 8, 2020 • Leave a Comment

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One-on-One, Remote Light Painting Workshops are now available for individual learning from your home!

You’ll be working with me directly (online), and you’ll be saving on airfare, hotels, meals and rental cars!

***Have you already taken my workshop? Click HERE for the REMOTE Master Class***

Light Painting Image "Green Anvil and Walnuts" by Photographer Harold Ross

 Photograph by Harold Ross

I have been teaching my workshop online for several years now, but I never really advertised it because my work schedule was already pretty full, and so, it was reserved for people abroad who couldn’t travel here for various reasons.

That said, we feel very fortunate that we have had many students who were able to travel here from other countries such as India, Switzerland, Australia, England, Ireland, Hong Kong, Mexico, Brazil, and Canada!  :-)

Due to the Covid-19 situation, I’ve been teaching online to several students who were originally signed up for in-person workshops. The remote teaching has worked out so welI that I’ve decided to offer it to anyone!

Keep in mind that this learning can be stretched out over time if that suits you, or it can be done in a more accelerated manner. In fact, it can be done at any pace that you prefer!

Light Painted Photograph "Still Life with Olive Oil" by Photographer Harold Ross

 Photograph by Harold Ross

 

***See more about the remote workshop, including the outline HERE***

 

 

Light Painted Photograph "Heirloom Tomatoes" by Photographer Harold Ross

Photograph by Harold Ross

 

Light Painted Photograph "Still Life with Green Bottle" by Photographer Harold Ross

Photograph by Harold Ross

 

Light Painted Photograph "Still Life with Watering Can and Radish" by Photographer Harold Ross
Photograph by Harold Ross

If you think this is something that would interest you, just please click HERE for more information!

 

Thank you for visiting! To learn more about my image making process, please see the Tutorials page of this blog, or consider taking a workshop!

For workshop information please click HERE .

All images from students over the years are HERE.

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Medium Format Magazine – June Edition

•June 19, 2020 • 2 Comments

 

As always, if you’re viewing this in an email, please click the title of this post to see the blog, which offers a better viewing experience.

Medium Format Magazine June 2020 Issue and Photographer Harold Ross

Cover photograph by Tim Tadder

In March of this year, I was contacted by Olaf Sztaba, the Editor-in-Chief of Medium Format Magazine. The team had become familiar with my work, and Olaf asked me if I would be interested in writing an article, or possibly a series of articles, for their magazine. I told them that I would be happy to!

Light Painting Photographer Harold Ross

The magazine is dedicated to Medium Format Photography, but it is full of beautiful inspirational photographic work and also has some great learning articles.

Also, the magazine is beautifully designed.

The June issue was just recently published and I wanted to share the news with everyone. Medium Format Magazine is the #1 publication dedicated to medium and large format photography. It is 100% subscriber supported, and so there are no ads, and there are over 100 pages of photographic content. My article is called “The Sculptural Nature of Light”.

Medium Format Magazine June 2020 Issue and Photographer Harold Ross's article "The Sculptural Nature of Light"

 

In addition to the magazine, their website, mediumformat.com, has free articles on gear, vision, and other news. Make sure to go to the menu on the upper right of the page to navigate the site.

From their website: “If you are a medium format photographer or planning to become one, you are in the right place. You will find exclusive content from the best medium format photographers in the world such as Nick Brandt, Ming Thein, Cooper & Gorfer, Marc Koegel, Michael E. Gordon, Harold Ross, Jonas Rask and many more. This is the place where visual ideas are thriving and prompting new ways of seeing and creating imagery. Make sure to subscribe and join us on this exciting medium format journey!”

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To see more of my work, please visit my website HERE.

For my workshop information please click HERE .

All images from my students over the years are HERE.

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Photography (except the cover) by Harold Ross

What Makes An Icon?

•May 9, 2020 • 9 Comments

As always, if you’re viewing this in an email, please click the title of this post to see the blog, which offers a better viewing experience.

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We hope that everyone is staying safe and healthy in this challenging time.

Sometimes, when I am drawn to photograph an object, it’s because the object is iconic, or generally representative of the type of object that it is. When approaching just how to photograph it, I feel the need to “monumentalize” the object. After all, I’m trying to convey to the viewer my feelings about the very iconic nature of that subject.

It’s no secret that I admire machinery, tools, especially those that were made many years ago, when durability and functionality was combined with design in a way that, sadly, disappeared for many decades. Fortunately, today, there is a resurgence of the appreciation of aesthetics in the design of practical objects. I think most of us can recall a period of time, probably reaching its zenith in the 70’s and 80’s, when practical objects were typically angular and beige! This was, in my opinion, a low point in the history of product design. Because of my interest in older objects, it makes sense that I would appreciate the industrial design aesthetics of an earlier time.

This 1960s era Craftsman Sabre Saw is one of those objects. I just love the heavy cast aluminum construction and although this piece of machinery was made many decades ago, it still works! There’s something to be said for that, also.

Light Painting Photograph of Vintage Craftsman Sabre Saw by Photographer Harold Ross

Craftsman Sabre Saw, circa 1960, Photography by Harold Ross

 

This Vintage Chesterman Sheffield Tape Measure (made in England) is also a favorite of mine. Although not a great example of how aesthetics influenced the final design, it is certainly a thing of beauty. The leather case, after many decades of use, has achieved a patina that can only be described as gorgeous.

 

Light Painting Photograph of Vintage Chesterman Sheffield Tape Measure by Photographer Harold Ross

Chesterman Sheffield Tape Measure, circa early 1900s, Photography by Harold Ross

 

Another favorite object of mine is this classic Swingline Stapler, circa 1960. If ever a stapler could be reminiscent of a racy motorbike (which I love), this is the one! Another objective of mine is to get across to the viewer the many functional elements that had to be incorporated into the aesthetic design in a smooth and unobtrusive way. I feel that the designer here accomplished that.

 

Light Painting Photograph of Vintage Swingline Stapler by Photographer Harold Ross

Swingline Stapler, circa 1960, Photography by Harold Ross

I truly believe that objects can offer a glimpse into the past, and in some cases, they can contain some of the spirit of the people that owned or used them. My goal is to try to somehow get some of that spirit across in a photograph.

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Thank you for visiting! To learn more about my image making process, please see the Tutorials page of this blog, or consider taking a workshop!

For workshop information please click HERE .

All images from students over the years are HERE.

 

*****

 

 

Review of Student Images From Recent Workshops

•March 15, 2020 • 6 Comments

As always, if you’re viewing this in an email, please click the title of this post to see the blog, which offers a better viewing experience.

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Hello everyone! I hope you all are staying healthy in these challenging times. Today, I’m posting images that were made by students who attended my workshops in the last few months. It’s a long post, so hang in there, and remember to click on the images to see them larger!

You’ll notice that some students have more than one image. These are students that are alumni students (experienced), or students that took an individual 1-on-1 workshop, and/or stayed for an extra day of training.

I feel very fortunate and honored that students have travelled from near and far to take a personal workshop with me!

In this recap, there is recent work by students who travelled here from: Hong Kong, Ireland, Maine (2 students), Ohio, Texas (2 students), South Carolina, Arkansas, California, Pennsylvania (2 students), Iowa, and Maryland (3 students). I am truly humbled.

A big THANK YOU! goes out to every one of them.

Also, I am once again so pleased and surprised to see the images that students come up with; these are often compositions that I wouldn’t think of. This is one of the most rewarding things about teaching my image-making process. Of course, since I have a finite (if large) collection of props, there is some repetition of singular elements.

A personal word about my workshops… I developed this process, which I call “Sculpting with Light”. It is a process that I’ve been perfecting for almost 30 years, and it allows us to create a tremendous amount of depth, dimension and detail.

Yes, 30 years means that I used light painting with film, and I developed methods then, and I have brought those concepts to a digital workflow. It is a challenging (but rewarding) process, and the workshops are intensive; we work very hard because I want my students to leave with a deep understanding of the process. For this reason, I teach a maximum of TWO students (I also teach individuals), and this is why I teach quite a few workshops per year.

I believe that a workshop such as this, where hands-on technique needs to be taught on a personal level, can only be successful if the class size is very small. It is simply impossible to go deeply into my process with a large group. What matters to me is the immense satisfaction that I get from teaching photographers how to make extraordinary images. – Harold

On to the images…

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Wai Chong Leung (One-on-One Workshop), Hong Kong

Wai wanted to create an image with a reflective surface in order to learn how to light these types of challenging objects. By using a glass container which contains a colored liquid (in this case, olive oil) we also got to explore how to create a “glow” of light inside the bottle. Also, she was, like most of my students, somewhat uncomfortable with the Wacom Pen Tablet, but at the end of the workshop (again, like most of my students), she embraced it. Wai, your composition is beautiful!

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Wai Chong Leung

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Ella Hudson & Knapp Hudson  (Custom Two-on-One Workshop), Maine

Ella and her husband Knapp (see below) decided to take a workshop together and scheduled “custom” dates.

Ella fell in love with one of the beautiful marbles in my collection; she based her still life around it, contrasting its glossy reflective surface with the beautiful patina of some vintage items. I don’t know which I like more; the beautiful internal details of the marble, or the gorgeous textures! Great image, Ella!

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Ella Hudson

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Knapp created a composition with one of my favorite props; the Frings Cigar Box, with its amazing label. What was completely unexpected is how Knapp inverted the green machine part (on the left side of the image). This piece has been photographed before, but no one has inverted it, which completely changes its appearance. Knapp named that piece “The Alien Prince”! If you look closely you’ll see why! Brilliant, Knapp.

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Knapp Hudson

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Stacey Moore (Two-on-One Workshop), Texas

Stacey Moore created a composition inspired by childhood. It’s always a pleasure for me when a student makes an image that has personal meaning for them! This is a great “learning” composition, as there is a good variety of surface qualities, providing a variety of challenges. I love how the marble relates to the background. Great work, Stacey!

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Stacey Moore

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Bob Hawkins (Alumni Two-on-One Workshop), Ohio

Bob Hawkins returned for his second workshop, and he made this beautiful image based on the gorgeous vessel in the center. I really love the color scheme of this image, and Bob did a great job of lighting and rendering the fabric, which is a challenge! Beautiful image, Bob.

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Bob Hawkins

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Canice Dunphy (One-on-One Workshop), Ireland

Canice Dunphy travelled from Ireland once again to take another workshop with me. We have worked together before, so Canice is quite advanced, and this makes for a very productive time! His first image embodies what I love about Sculpting with Light; that even the simplest and most mundane subjects can be transformed into something extraordinary. It’s the reason I still am so passionate about making images, even after three decades! Canice rendered the subtle details so beautifully.

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Canice Dunphy

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For his second image, Canice kept it very simple (and I believe that the simplest images can be the most powerful) and created a study in color and texture. The vintage inkwell is amazing. Great job, Canice!

Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Canice Dunphy

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Rachna Jain (Two-on-One Workshop), Maryland

Rachna Jain did something that I normally don’t recommend; she created a composition consisting totally of reflective objects! I normally caution  against this, as I feel that the learning (of lighting techniques) is limited, but Rachna proved me wrong! There is quite a variety of surface textures and shapes, and there is transparency involving color. I feel that this image is so successful, and I really love the monochromatic feel of it! Great work, Rachna.

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Rachna Jain

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Ann Evans (Two-on-One Workshop), Iowa

Ann Evans wanted to create a simple, classic composition, and she was drawn to one of my favorite props; a vintage stag-horn handled knife. Ann made great use of a concept that I teach in my workshops; brighter things tend to come forward in our vision, and conversely, darker things tend to recede. By using this concept, Ann made an image with a good amount of depth, even though the actual still life is quite shallow. I believe that this is one of the most important principles in my Sculpting with Light process. Beautiful work, Ann!

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Ann Evans

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Mark Myers (Two-on-One Workshop), California

I love this image by Mark Myers, and for two reasons. One, the objects are truly unrelated to each other. I often joke that we should avoid “matchy-matchy” thinking, that is, that not everything in a composition needs to relate, and in fact, it can be very fun to place things together that don’t relate at all. Second, I LOVE the color scheme here. The red, green and gold jewel tones are fantastic! Excellent, Mark.

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Mark Myers

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Chris Jewett (One-on-One Workshop), Maryland

Chris Jewett is also a return student, and I personally love to work with a student who already has worked with the process. This allows us to go deeper into the image-making process, and often, we are able to make more than one image, mainly as a method of reinforcing the workflow and lighting techniques. Chris has a great eye when it comes to choosing subject matter to bring to the workshop (I welcome students to bring objects to photograph, as long as I get a look at them first to insure that they aren’t too complex), and this scale is no exception. Upon close examination, one can see that this is an “American Family Scale”. The vintage wedding photo, framed in a very old film holder, works as a great visual play on words. Terrific image, Chris.

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop
Photograph by Chris Jewett
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This second image of Chris’s is also of an object that he brought to the workshop. It’s a silver plated flagon (a vessel containing drink), and although it is seemingly a simple object, it was quite a challenge to light properly! One of the things I teach students is the lighting approach for very reflective objects, such as glass and glossy metal. Chris did a great job here applying those techniques!

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Chris Jewett

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Rodney Steele (Two-on-One Workshop), Arkansas

Rodney Steele created this pyramidal composition from a very old colander, a vintage beer stein, a tomatillo, a shallot and a pomegranate. Five simple objects, beautifully composed and lit. The color scheme of this image is fantastic, as are the subtle textures of the organic subjects. Beautiful work, Rodney!

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Rodney Steele

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Jennifer Kouyoumjian (Two-on-One Workshop), South Carolina

Jennifer Kouyoumjian wanted to photograph an object that relates to her work; she is a professional photographer and designer and as part of her job, she works with industrial objects. This subject is very complex, and so, was quite challenging. Looking closely, you can see the variety of angles, surfaces and shapes. Each of these must be considered when applying the light, and of course, in masking as well. Jennifer did a fantastic job of bringing out these details in both instances. Terrific work, Jennifer!

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Jennifer Kouyoumjian

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Suzanne Chauvin (Two-on-One Workshop), Texas

Suzanne Chauvin came from Texas, but she brought us some goodies from Louisiana! Some cajun spices, and Beignet mix, which Vera and I have enjoyed! Thanks again, Suzanne! ;-) Suzanne zeroed in very quickly on a very unusual object in my prop collection; a piece of titanium that is a by-product of a plasma cutting process. It is quite interesting, and beautiful, but as Suzanne found, it is also quite difficult to photograph! By using multiple captures (as we always do in my process), Suzanne was able to capture every important detail, as well as the beautiful color in the object. Again, I am always so pleased to see the compositions that my students come up with; often unexpected ones. Great image, Suzanne.

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Suzanne Chauvin

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Lori Ellis (Two-on-One Workshop), Pennsylvania
Lori Ellis put together a gorgeous composition; the glass vessel is just beautiful, and Lori handled the lighting (which was not terribly easy) so well! And those tomatoes! It always excites me to see what beautiful lighting can do when applied to a beautiful subject. Every detail of the image is given attention and care, and it shows. Wonderful work, Lori!
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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Lori Ellis

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Linda Agar-Hendrix (Two-on-One Workshop), Maryland

Linda Agar-Hendrix brought along this beautiful cigar box and the ornate spoon, as well as the pewter pitcher. Gorgeous items, and they photographed so nicely. Of course, I believe that with the proper lighting, beauty can be found in almost any subject. It helps, though, when the subjects are already interesting, and subjects of vintage design are usually just that! Linda used various lighting techniques to render the variety of surfaces, and she did a beautiful job. Good work, Linda.

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Student image from Harold Ross Photographer's Light Painting Workshop

Photograph by Linda Agar-Hendrix

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I like to say that the workshop is not about making a masterpiece, but instead, it is designed to teach a process and a way of thinking about light. I believe that my “Sculpting with Light” process is very transformative, and the images of ordinary objects shot by my students is a testament to that.

There are three ways to take a workshop with me:

For workshop information please click HERE .

All images from students over the years are HERE.

*****

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Attend my Light Painting Demonstration in Downingtown, PA!

•February 15, 2020 • 4 Comments

As always, if you’re viewing this in an email, please click the title of this post to see the blog, which offers a better viewing experience.

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The Chester County Camera Club in West Chester, PA has asked me to present my extended talk and demonstration of my image making process, which I call “Sculpting with Light”. I’ll be setting up a still life, photographing it (using light painting of course), and creating a final image in Photoshop. The entire program will be projected.

The Camera Club has been gracious enough to open the program up to non-members!

The six hour presentation will be open to anyone; you don’t need to be a club member, but you do need to sign up ahead of time (and there is an admission fee).

Light Painted Photograph "Still Life with Copper Vessel" by Harold Ross

“Still Life with Grapes and Copper Vessel” by Harold Ross

This will be a program rich in technical information and aesthetic inspiration! Watch live as I light paint a still life, and as I use my specialized masking and layering techniques to create the final image from multiple captures in Photoshop. Questions will be welcomed as I work, and you’ll see the step-by-step approach that I use in each image I make. You’ll also see my use of the very simple (and very few) lighting tools that I employ.

The presentation will be on Saturday February 29th from 11AM to 5PM at the Messiah Lutheran Church in Downingtown, PA. The cost is $40 per person. We do ask that there be no video recording of my presentation.

Light Painted Photograph "Japanese Brushes No. 3" by Harold Ross

“Japanese Brushes No. 3” by Harold Ross

You can find all of the information about how to register for the event at the Chester County Camera Club website, or you can email Ginia at giniaaposto@gmail.com

Light Painted Photograph "Still Life with Copper Pot" by Harold Ross

“Still Life with Copper Pot” by Harold Ross

For more information on where I’ll be speaking and giving demonstrations in the future, please go HERE.

Light Painted Photograph "Blood Oranges and Grapes" by Harold Ross

“Blood Oranges and Grapes” by Harold Ross

For more information on my work please see my blog HERE .

For my workshop information please click HERE .

Please visit my Website

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