Light Painting Rewards Us When We Do The Work

Jul 02, 2024

There is a saying among creative people that suggests that if we simply “let go” and immerse ourselves in the act of creation, we will be rewarded. This saying is simply "Do The Work.” I have experienced this personally many many times!

My most recent image is a great example of this concept. As with many of my images, I didn't know where I was headed when I started.

A friend from my art school days, Mike Harrigan, recently sent me some American Chestnut seed pods. He thought that I would like to photograph them, and he was indeed correct!

"American Chestnut Seed Pods" by Harold Ross

I started by creating a "typical" still life with the pods, but I couldn't make it work. After struggling for an hour or two, I decided to do a "Look Down" or "Flatlay" image of the pods.

One of the wonderful aspects of this perspective is its flexibility in arranging the subject matter. 

This is because we are not confined to a specific type of support or base to hold the objects. Instead, they can "float" on top of the background in almost any position we desire.

Anyway, going back to the concept of "Do The Work”… I have discovered that by simply working with the subject matter for a while, a composition (or a concept) literally emerges out of nowhere.

In this particular case, I noticed that the large cluster of pods on the upper right started to look like a honeybee!

With that in mind, I continued working, incorporating the remaining pods and the leaves into the frame, and the composition began to reveal itself. It took me a long time to understand that by just letting go of preconceptions, this happens frequently, and almost without exception. 

So, instead of trying to pre-plan a composition, just try playing around! 

I think you'll find that if you do the work, you will be rewarded.

See what students are saying about my Light Painting The Still Life Foundation Course:

Happy Light Painting... and always remember... Skim The Light.

- Harold

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