What Kind of Insomniac Freak Would Do This?
...or "About The Artist"
My name is Larrie Thomson and I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in photography.
When I was 6 years old I sent in a coupon from a cereal box and received my first camera. It didn't really work very well. After destroying several rolls of film at my parents' expense, they took pity and bought me a small, cheap 126 camera. Remember 126 cartridge film? Remember Magicubes? ...Those little flash cubes with 4 bulbs in them? No? Oh well, I guess it was a 70's thing.
By age 12, I had become bored with my little automatic camera. There were so many things people could do with "real" cameras that I couldn't do with mine. I read some books on basic photography, saved money from my first job and bought a real 35mm SLR camera. It was still an inexpensive camera but it afforded me the flexibility I needed. I used it quite contentedly well into the mid 1980's when the light meter quit working.
Around this time I went through sort of a "video" phase, spending several years as a television cameraman and working on a basement studio and editing suite constructed from beat up bits of ancient equipment I had pieced together from local television stations. The home studio project probably did more for my electronics skills and for developing a sense of stubborn determination than anything else, but my time behind a TV camera improved my photographic instincts and got me thinking about lighting in a whole new way.
Eventually I returned to traditional still photography, and during July of 1999, I began experimenting with night shooting. Intrigued by the more unusual facets of photography, I wanted to try my hand at taking pictures using the light of the full moon. Things look so different at night. The cool light of the moon and the dark shadows create an entirely different mood that I wanted to capture on film.
Many night photographers claim that a manual camera is best for night shooting since the long exposure times involved can be hard on the batteries of newer electronic cameras. Realizing that it was too dark to use a light meter anyway, I figured that my first old SLR camera with the broken light meter would be perfect for the job. I dug it out of the bottom drawer where it had gathered dust for the past 15 years, loaded it with film and waited for the full moon to arrive.
July 30, 1999: It was a perfectly clear night and I couldn't sleep anyway, so I packed up my old camera and set out for a rural county dump to try some light painting techniques I had read about. At first it was kind of scary out there, walking alone from the locked gate where I parked, up the long road toward the dump. There wasn't another human for miles around but the nocturnal wildlife was abundant. Packs of coyotes howled back and forth through the trees on either side and skunks busily scurried about in the garbage looking for something interesting to eat. I was really questioning my sanity.
After a little time getting accustomed to the night I soon found it to be a wonderful, mysterious, peaceful place and I had a great time that evening wandering around, stepping over skunks and photographing wrecked cars, strange junk and piles of twisted metal. I was even more pleased to later discover that some of my first attempts at light painted full moon photography turned out reasonably well. My very first shot of this type is still on the web site.
Since then I've never looked back. Weather and time permitting, I try to take every opportunity I can to get out and shoot during the full moon. The road trips I have taken doing night photography have proven to be a welcome escape and sometimes a source of more than a little adventure. As such, night photography has turned out to be the perfect pursuit, providing a little "right brain exercise" sorely missing from my life and a creative medium well suited to my somewhat nocturnal nature.
Please feel free to drop me a line for any reason. Questions, comments and suggestions are all very welcome. I'm also interested in hearing about new night shooting locations or opportunities to get more exposure for my work.
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