When Mike Gere isn't snapping stunning nighttime shots (like the ones below 👇), the local award-winning photographer is leading daily photography tours in Jasper National Park.
Gere began exploring light painting over 10 years ago as something to do during night photography sessions when there were no stars or northern lights to photograph. "It was a fun and creative activity that produced some great results," he says.
Light painting is the introduction of direct or indirect light into a long exposure that can add surreal elements into an already beautiful scene. Indirect light is cast upon elements in the scene to illuminate them; direct light is used to create or highlight the subject matter. More recently he's also been experimenting with tube painting —
a technique which uses a light tube to illuminate or silhouette subjects.
"I love shooting at night, because after learning the basics, there is no rush. The only constraint is when the sun rises," Gere says. "One has the ability to choose the elements present in a scene by lighting or not lighting them."
His workshops (offered through his company Jasper Photo Tours) can be customized to whatever subject sparks your passion, but his standard offerings include a two hour Intro to Photography option, as well as options that focus on sunrise/sunset, waterfalls and night photography. "Night Photography" is an umbrella term that covers both the aurora borealis (weather permitting) and light painting.
During a night photography session, Gere will cover the basics of night photography to start: exposure, focus and composition. From there the workshop will concentrate on each guest's particular interests. The techniques for both night sky photography and light painting are similar. Either way, the goal is to have you come away with great photos and the ability to make photos as such in the future.
Get inspired by the five examples of Gere's light painting photography below, and good luck picking your favourite.