Last Friday, October 31 (Halloween!!), I was nominated for a fun little social media trend going around called the “Five Day Black & White Photo Challenge.” I was pretty excited to receive the nomination from an awesome light painter by the name of Chris Bauer. I had noticed all of my light painting Facebook friends receiving nominations all week and incorporating light painting into the challenge and I was quite excited to do the same if I were to receive a nomination.
So this weekend I had some fun shooting long exposures while camping. But my real inspiration came on Monday after I had recovered from lack of sleep and gratuitous hiking. Halloween was over, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t do a creepy black and white portrait!
I initially had the idea of lighting up half of my face and then lighting up half of a mask of some type. I had a Jason hockey mask that I could use, but I had used it in several older light paintings and I wanted something fresh. That is when I recalled that I had a Darth Vader mask in my storage closet! I ran out and grabbed it and set up a makeshift backdrop in my bedroom.
I did several test shots facing my tripod to make sure I was seated directly in the center of the frame. After each shot I had to get up to see the screen of the camera so I had to make sure I sat back down in the correct spot.
I started out taking my photos with a horizontal composition, but soon switched to vertical since it would be better for a portrait of my face.
To create the image, I started by illuminating the right side of my face with a quick on and off of a keychain light, then I held my head still and slipped the Vader mask on and lit myself from the left side with a quick flash.
Overall, I took 24 photos including the test shots and all of my attempts. It took forever, but I got one that I was happy with in the end. I knew the title instantly when I saw the image. “Everyone has a dark side.”