Photographer Darren Pearson has been making unbelievable light paintings since 2008. He paints cutely comical images of spaceships attacking cities, skeletons skateboarding down city steps, and animals being in places they normally wouldn’t be. Despite what you may think, Pearson’s images aren’t made with the help of Photoshop. He sets his camera up on a tripod and takes a photograph – usually opening the shutter from between two and seven minutes. While the shutter is open he jumps in front of the camera and “paints” with various tools that resemble flashlights.
Pearson also pioneered the light painting technique of spinning a glass prism in front of the camera while shining light into the lens to create rainbow prismatic circles. While that process may sound quite convoluted, Pearson says the hardest part is actually finding a cool spot without ambient light or sketchy night people. And as a resident of Los Angeles, that appears to be quite a difficult thing. He talks about how he first discovered light painting:
I saw an old article from LIFE magazine on the collaboration between Pablo Picasso and Gjon Mili and the image ‘picasso draws a centaur’. I was fascinated by the image and asked my friend how it worked; he explained long exposures to me. (Source)
Pearson has many great stories of creating his light-hearted long exposures – one which involves taking his grandmother into the hills north of Tuscon, getting lost, and eventualy collaborating on photographs. He’s been kicked out of an abandoned zoo while taking photographs, and asked by the cops to explain just what he was doing. If anything, he is dedicated to his craft. You can see more of his extensive efforts here through his videos.