Giant Spheres Created with Light Painting

Photographer Denis Smith creates photos giant balls of light without any digital trickery, relying instead on light-painting. His technique is to spin a light around while slowly turning his body, creating spheres of light when seen in a long exposure photo.

This technique wasn’t merely an interesting discovery or a fun hobby — it saved his life. Just two years ago Smith was in a high pressure job suffering from depression, money, and alcohol problems. His life took a huge turn for the better when he discovered photography and then light painting. Photographer Sam Collins created this 15 minute documentary that shares both Smith’s life and his “Ball of Light” technique:

To see more “Ball of Light” photographs, head on over to Smith’s website.

Ball of Light (via f stoppers)

Image credits: Photographs by Denis Smith and used with permission

  • unsilent majority

    What is the relationship of the “balls of light” to the specific scene, though, if any. . .

    There are better applications for light painting, like using such technique at a fireworks display, etc.

    ANyway, nice work.

  • Howard

    Denis that was inspiring and amazing! Keep it up!

  • Howard

    Denis that was inspiring and amazing! Keep it up!

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  • Tangent77

    I’d like to see some artistic development with this. It’s the equivalent of writing with a sparkler at night. Some different shapes, something that relates to the environment it’s in.

  • Jumbolala

    Seriously, you guys going on about the balls not having anything to do with the environment they are in, did you even watch the movie!?

    This is real photographic art, so much more than some gimmicky fireworky stuff!

  • unsilent majority

    by mentioning fireworks, I was refering to the idea of light painting AT a fireworks display as another idea . . simnply because with a long exposure of a fireworks display, it is as if you are lightpainting in the same way. Somebody looking at the image of a sphere in any of those images, might be hard pressed to understand the conection, if any . . and that is all I meant. Either way, ITIS nice work and I admire it.

  • Jacob

    What about: It looks nice. It doesn’t have to be artistic, just nice.

  • Rockindad

    How about this: spiritual presence, perceived.

  • Bryan

    very cool original stuff

  • Melissa2510

    Great work! I love that you have created a sphere in different locations. Very inspiring. 

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  • Wilksonian

    while I understand that it seems to be a meditative thing for denis to do solo, i’d like to see him take some assistance from many people creating balls of light at one time.   Something about the photos resonate within me after reading carlos castenda books in that according to american indians every person is really a ball of energy…   

  • Lizarebel

    I thought they looked like portals, too… even before I saw the video!

  • Joelkidson

    Thank you for your humble and truly inspiring look at your life and your art. We should all walk away from this asking ourselves some self-examination questions.

  • Kyrie

    How about this Here Denis did over 58 spheres on his own… why share his secrets when he can do this on his own in one exposure!!

    2074 seconds (35 minutes), F8 at iso 200.
    Oh by the way for you perfectionistas, this is SOOC