‘Lightspeed’: A Stop Motion Journey Around California Made with 1,000+ Light Painted Photos

Light painting photographer Darren Pearson spent the past year working on the stop motion animation above, titled “Lightspeed.” Each of the 1,000 frames in it is a separate light-painted photograph that was captured in various locations across California.

Locations featured in the video include Mono Lake, Big Sur, Trona Pinnacles, Death Valley, Sequoia, Joshua Tree, Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. At each spot, Pearson pulled out his camera gear and LED lights and then began shooting long exposure photos while waving his lights through the frame.

“I’ve spent many nights in the middle of nowhere with coyotes howling in the distance while I look like some idiot at a rave waving around an LED,” he says. After filling several hard drives, a few close calls with rattlesnakes, and tens of thousands of miles racked up on his car, Pearson finished the video.

It’s a followup to his 2013 video “Light Goes On,” which has amassed nearly half a million views on YouTube.

Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of this effort, here are some examples of his single frame light painting works:

"Set Sail": f/22, ISO 100, 204 second exposure

“Set Sail”: f/22, ISO 100, 204 second exposure

"Triceratop This": f/13, ISO 100, 240 second exposure

“Triceratop This”: f/13, ISO 100, 240 second exposure

"Drunkards in the Snow: f/7.1, ISO 100, 473 second exposure

“Drunkards in the Snow: f/7.1, ISO 100, 473 second exposure

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