Palouse Falls in eastern Washington State is a spectacular waterfall that plummets 200 feet into a natural amphitheatre. Photographers have captured many images of these falls during daylight hours. The first time I went there in the spring of 2017, I wanted to try some night photos of the falls using light painting, a technique I had tried only a few times before. This was several years before night photography and camping were not allowed in this state park.
During the afternoon, I scouted a location by the amphitheatre rim. I checked with several other people who were also camping in the park that night to ensure I would not interfere with any photography they might be planning. That night, I took a series of photographs with the goal of highlighting the waterfall and making the adjacent walls of the amphitheatre recede into the darkness.
For each photograph, I separated the scene into different zones and painted each zone with a spotlight, counting the time I painted each zone during a 30-second exposure. For each exposure, I experimented with the length of time I painted each zone until I achieved the lighting effect I wanted. It was a challenging shoot because of the complicated light painting process and because I was afraid of heights.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor