Kate and I headed to uptown Charlotte after a fun night helping a friend raise some money for their cyclocross team at Birdsong Brewery.

We arrived at Romare Bearden Park in the heart of uptown Charlotte, at around 9:30 p.m., and began shooting the skyline. I had originally envisioned a shot where the word “Charlotte” was written out in light beneath the skyline. Unfortunately, the park was quite well-lit and after a few test shots, I was feeling pretty disheartened. I was sure that the ambient light from the park lights and the city surrounding us would stomp out any chance for a decent light painting.


We scoured the park for a darker location and after several failed attempts throughout the area, we found a nice spot where some bushes created a dark lower portion for my camera’s composition.  Kate and I then took turns at our backwards cursive writing, using a little keychain LED light from Walmart. We each did about 10 attempts and most of our letters ended up either skewed in some way, or partially out of the shadows which overexposed parts of the word.

After about a half hour of shooting, we both really had to use the restroom (due to our prior brewery festivities), and we decided we would take one last shot and depart! I decided to start a bit further to the left from where I had previously started and as I was busting out my final backward “Charlotte,” I could just feel that it was going to be the best shot yet. When we closed the shutter, I couldn’t believe how much better the letters were than all the others. Mission accomplished!

The moral of the story? When you gotta go, you gotta go, and you’re going to be EXTRA motivated to nail your shot!