Light-painting photographer Denis Smith is perhaps best known for creating giant spheres of light in photos. For his latest series, titled “Liquid Light,” Smith brought his light tools into waist-deep water for beautiful photos of light bursting forth from the surface.
“For the past 2 summers I have been spending time in the water with my light painting tools,” Smith tells PetaPixel. “It has been so much fun. Light painting has always been about getting away from daily life, being super present and expressing how I am feeling through movement. With the liquid light series, I could just let loose, splashing around like a kid!”
To create the photos, Smith uses the intervalometer built into his camera and exposures of between 1 and 5 seconds. As his camera continually snaps away, Smith stands in front of it and swings his tools in and out of the water light a Jedi training with a lightsaber.
“After a few minutes, or when I am out of breath, I head over to the camera and see what I have,” Smith says. “Using this method, you head home with hundreds of images, then select the ones that capture the moment.”
“The images I love the most are when I manage to capture the dying color in the sky, the light painting, the movement of the water, but it is just dark enough that I am not seen in the shot,” the photographer says. “Capturing the spray of the water off the tool, or achieving the glassy look always gets me going.”
Here’s a 2-minute video that provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Smith creates these photos: