The Amazing Light Painting Photography of Darren Pearson


When it comes to great light painting photography, we’ve had cause to mention Darren Pearson on more than one occasion. His dinosaur light paintings were well-received, and his skeleton skater light painting animation was just plain cool.

So rather than continuing to pull bits and pieces of Pearson’s work to show you every time something catches our eye, we’ve decided to introduce you to him and his work as a whole, and let the light painting enthusiasts among you follow to your heart’s content.

As he put it while speaking with Thrash Lab (below), the air is his canvas. His work consists of dinosaurs, skateboarders, skeletons and animals he draws with his lights. Based out of San Diego, he’s also put together a series of images dubbed California Soul — a sort of ode to California culture.

Here’s that Thrash Lab profile mentioned above. Fair warning: he does use a little bit of inappropriate language:

Visiting his Flickr account or website is the best way to see everything. His light paintings are split up into sets, with subjects ranging from fossils, to spirit animals, aliens, angels and daemons. Below you’ll find a selection of some of our favorites:



















Although his work is whimsical and fun to look at, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s also easy to create. It takes skill to transfer the image in his mind onto that canvas of air he mentioned, and more often than not, it also takes a lot of trial and error:

I won’t stop until I get what I’m looking for. I may do something a hundred times, because I have a vision that I kind of go into something thinking ‘ok, I’ll get this particular shot,’ and if I don’t get that particular shot, I’ll obsess over it.

To see a lot more of Pearson’s work with light (as well as a few sets that have nothing to do with light painting) check out his Flickr profile or head over to his website Darius Twin by clicking here.

(via Colossal)

Image credits: Photographs by Darren Pearson and used with permission.

  • chubbs

    I’ve seen this before and I’m dying to know how exactly he produces such thin nice lines. I’ll have to watch the video.

  • James Bonnick

    LED lights & laser pens

  • James Bonnick

    Impressive !

  • Tyler Magee

    The skeletons at the camp fire was my favorite. :D awesome work

  • Dave

    The shadow of the two girls in the middle of the road was a nice touch.

  • Ingemar Smith

    How is there time enough in the exposure to paint that much?

  • sno

    You can hold a shutter open for hours or as long as your camera battery lasts…

  • zeptom

    I’m pretty sure he is not using a laser, it may hurt his and your sensor if he/you use it.

    One way would be to tweak a bright LED light and make like a pinhole for it, then you get a thin small and bright light source that wont ruin your camera. I have done that myself for other simular projects…

  • Justin Gulbransen

    As someone who does light painting I have created my own ‘light pens’ to draw in a similar but far far less impressive style to darren pearson. I just purchased a single LED bulb and connected them to a small watch battery inside of a thin plastic tube. Using a single LED allows you to draw nicely defined lines in a photo. You can see the difference of using a single LED vs a traditional flashlight in the second skeleton skater photo where he uses a single LED light pen to draw the skeleton and a traditional flashlight with multiple LEDS for the starry looking larger spots of light in the photo. Laser pens create a much different look and can’t be used to draw in this style because they will damage your sensor if aimed directly into the camera.

  • Justin Gulbransen

    A nice trick to be able to draw for a long period of time without over exposure is adjusting the aperture while the shutter is still open so that the scenery doesn’t over expose while you are drawing and then opening it up to let the scenery burn in after you have done the light effects in the photo.

  • Eugene Chok

    photo = light , graph = drawing, he’s pretty much actually doing photography