Ben Woods and I met in 2015. Already an accomplished and talented photographer, we bonded super quickly around light painting. Ben works closely with me at our light painting workshops where he provides a gentle, warm hand to those who are keen to learn. In recent times Ben is helping me keep up with the growing demand for our light painting tools. His attention to detail is just what anyone would look for in this type of work, and this flows over into his photography. No matter how late we are out, Ben is pushing to the last minute and is a real perfectionist. I am proud to call Ben a great friend and an inspiration to me to be better. Thanks mate.
AN INTERVIEW WITH BEN
How long have you been light painting?
I started playing around on the odd occasion in 2012, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I really gave it a go.
Where did you first see light painting and what got you started?
I discovered light painting online around 2012, and started followed this Ball of Light dude LOL. Having a young family, I found it hard to get out to take images. I was mainly taking (but not very well haha) landscapes and nature. Because light painting is done at night, it allowed me to sneak away after the kids were in bed. Light painting is now my main form of photography.
What is the craziest location you have light painted?
Driving two hours down to Deep Creek with Denis after a long day at work, the weather was bad enough to wonder if to cancel or not. We both agreed to ‘just do it’ and away we went. It was cold, wet and windy but we managed to do some light painting in between sheltering out of the rain in a cave that was full of spiders LOL. We both got some really moody images from that night, and it remains a fond memory. It’s probably not a crazy location as such, but it was a crazy night.
Where is your favorite online location for light painting inspiration?
Inspiration can come from anywhere, but Instagram, Facebook groups, and Flickr are a few favourites, as well as artist tutorials.
What advice would you offer someone just starting out in light painting?
Just grab a light and wave it around in front of your camera, then play. It’s that easy. Don’t get caught up in trying to capture the perfect image, there is no such thing. Keep practicing, understand your camera and how your settings effect your images. Shutter speed, aperture and ISO. Go nuts, experiment, but most importantly HAVE FUN!
What is the thing you love most about light painting?
For me I love light painting as a creative outlet. It allows you to create an image based on what you can see in your mind. Sometimes it can take several attempts to capture that, but that is all part of the fun. It allows me to be completely alone, or with a group of mates but either way, I find it completely relaxing.
How long have you had your Ball of Light Tool?
Which one? Haha. I have been lucky enough to experiment with several versions of the BOLT of the last couple of years. I have tried to smash the heads, fling them off into the bush, but they survive.
What is the feature of the tool you like the most?
Being allowed to experiment with the different versions, I’m really taken by the R&D refinement that has gone into the tool. Each tool is built by hand with care and love. This makes for a very well-designed tool that will last the user for many years.
What advice would you give someone just starting out on their orb spinning journey?
Don’t expect to spin a perfect orb straight away. Practice Practice and then PRACTICE! I can tell you that it took me numerous orbs to get it somewhat nice, then I lost the nack….for 12 months! It was just practice! I need to spin an orb every light painting session, just to keep my eye in. Don’t stress!
Where online, other than light painting, do you go for inspiration?
I check out Instagram and facebook groups for inspiration from other photography artists. Various sites like Creative Live have thousands of tutorials and articles to learn from.
Tell us one strange thing about you that people would find weird?
Ha! Great question. I hope people DO find something that is weird about me. Weird is good, weird means you’re different from someone else. Being weird is not a bad thing, you’re a unique individual. BE WEIRD MAN! J