Text by location supervisor Chris Bauer.
All images are clickable. Photos by Paul Burns, Bill Burk, Mack Murdoc, Johnny Andrews, Kristen Schlecht, Chris Bauer, Dan Chick, Nancy Nguyen, Jeri Lynn, Adriana Michima, Kyle Wirkkala, Patrick Collier, Jonathan Lloyd, Christina Vasquez.
The Pacific Northwest LPWA meet-up took place July 21-23, 2017 on the southeastern foothills of Mount Saint Helens in Washington State. An outdoor camping experience was created for those who wanted to experience the beautiful outdoor locations and caves the area had to offer.
Many light painters arrived early, as the campsite was actively held for the group one week prior to the event. As campers started to arrive, adventures began and new friendships were born.
Collaborations in various groups began on Wednesday, July 19 and continued until sunrise on the final day of the event. By the time the first official night began, everyone had gotten to know each other very well around the campfire and in multiple groups that had light painted together.
On Friday night, 25 light painters along with friends and family filled the camp. The group was very friendly and excited to be there. As night approached, everyone was very anxious to explore and light paint together. Various groups left to explore in the night, and another group stayed behind at camp to help plan for the big collaboration light painting we were all to make on the next morning in the cave.
On Saturday, we had an optional hike to a cave planned. The group had also decided they wanted to make the big collaboration image in a cave, so we chose to do it on this hike. This was a daytime trip to the cave and since it was dark inside, we could use it to light paint during the daylight hours. A full description of what to expect was posted in our group to ensure and to help the light painters plan for the adventure. Unfortunately, we had a two hour late start from the original plan. This put the group in the direct sunlight as we started our hike. Temperatures reached 90 degrees by the time we had reached our three-mile destination of Ole Cave.
The group was greeted by the caves lower entrance as the cold air poured from it. Temperatures in the cave made it feel like we had our own air conditioning in the forest. After cooling down, the group finished one more ½ mile hike to the upper entrance of the cave to create our collaboration image.
On our Facebook group there was a couple ideas suggested, but the group did not seem to have much input on what we wanted to create for a giant collaboration image. Sergey Churkin presented the group with an idea for "Hall of the Mountain King" where we would have a king sitting in a cave surrounded by cave trolls. This idea looked like a fun project for the group to create in a cave. Kristen Schlecht created troll ears that could be worn to match the example that Sergey made.
With our image already practiced by the group at camp the night before, we were able to set up for our collaboration quite easily. We designated light painters and models to execute some basic el-wire silhouettes in the foreground and beside the king. Cameras were lined up to capture the collaboration from many angles as the action was about to begin. On our first try, our plan worked out very well.
Credits for "In The Hall Of Mountain King":
Mountain King- Paul Burns (CO, USA)
Mountain King Lights- Bill Burk (WA, USA), Mack Murdoc (CA, USA)
Cave Trolls- Johnny Andrews (MN, USA), Kristen Schlecht (WA, USA), Nancy Nguyen (CO, USA), Skylar Keck (CA, USA)
Cave Troll Lights- T.J. Legler (MS, USA), Dan Chick (CO, USA), Chris Bauer (WA, USA), Marisa Bisping (NV, USA),
Cameras- Gareth Nathan (Ireland), Mack Murdoc (CA, USA), Beth Burk (WA, USA), Michelle Lark (Canada, BC), Chris Bauer (WA, USA), Dan Chick (CO, USA), Johnny Andrews (NC, USA), Aaron Schoenherr (MN, USA)
Additional PNW Team-
Jeri Lynn (WA, USA), Derek Lawrence (Canada, BC), Adriana Michima (OR, USA), Joe Salmans (OR, USA) Andrius Sprindys (Lithuania) , Dan Whitaker (UK), Kyle Wirkkala(WA, USA), Patrick Collier (OR, USA), Sarah LaFleur (OR, USA), Jonathan Lloyd (WA, USA), Christina Vasquez (KS, USA).
Costumes - Kristen Schlecht (WA, USA)
Concept and Original Design - Sergey Churkin (Russia)
We made another attempt at it so we would have more options for our favorite image.
Due to our late start we did not get to have much time to do any extra light painting in the cave, but everyone still had a great adventure. We all traveled thru the cave and emerged from the lower entrance, and began the three-mile hike back to the vehicles.
Saturday night back at camp, everyone was in good spirits. We all had a chance to recharge with food and drink before one more big night of light painting.
Dan Chick set up a projector to use for a real time light painting display, and Chris Bauer raffled off light painting prizes from Ellumiglow & Light Painting Brushes. From there, light painters began to spread out all around the area, especially a bridge and tunnel that were both heavily used near the camp. Everyone had a great night making memories together, and many light painted until the sun came up.
Sunday, July 23rd was the last scheduled day of the event. Exhausted, with memory cards full of images from the meet-up and minds full of amazing memories, the group began to pack up their camps and start traveling back to their homes. The camp was left in great condition as everyone worked together to ensure everyone made it out safe, and to remove all garbage, and evidence that we were ever there. All the way to the last minutes, we worked as a team to make it all possible. The event was a great success and learning experience for everyone who was involved.
Michelle Lark impression: "The LPWA has opened my eyes to a whole new genre of photography, I’m totally hooked. The PNW meet-up aligned me with some incredibly talented and visionary artists from all over the world. Without exception the PNW meet-up group were funny, open, generous and sometimes a smidgen crazy group of people, I will always cherish this weekend and the amazing people I met and am happy to now call friends. Who knew you could have so much fun in the dark woods waving flashlights around till dawn."
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In conclusion, I want to thank deeply to everyone who took a part in this meet-up. My very special thanks for making collaboration image "In The Hall Of Mountain King", this is perfect evidence of power of common efforts. I hope, your experience will attract more and more people into light painting art form.
Great thank to Jason D. Page for his support with his LightPaintingBrushes.com!
Official video from meet-up is here!
Best regards Sergey
Comment by Johnny Andrews
What a fantastic weekend. Great closing report!