American Electric Power (AEP) owns 60,000 acres of land near Zanesville, Ohio that has been strip mined for coal. They’ve opened it to the public as reclaimed recreation, or ReCreation as they put it, land with hiking, biking, and horse riding trails, camping, and fishing. It also happens to have some the darkest skies you can find in Ohio.
You need really dark skies to photograph the Milky Way. Recently I’ve been so preoccupied with improving my Milky Way photography that I’ve dismissed taking photos on clear nights if the moon is out. Turns out I was missing what these beautiful, clear, moonlit nights had to show me.
There’s a part of the brain that is compelled to figure out things we don’t instantly understand. One of the ways photography can trigger that compulsion is with long exposure images. We can mess with time to create a world we can’t see on our own. We can make flowing water look silky and smooth, clouds that streak across the sky and show the path of lights.
Light painting takes advantage of the long exposure to show a single point of light in many places at the same time. Frequently these paths are round. Light orbs and spinning steel wool photos are very popular and easy to create. Can we create other shapes as well?