Watch This Photographer Expertly “Paint” Two Swans Using Light

Light Painting of a Swan on a Lake by Hannu Huhtamo

Finnish fine art photographer Hannu Huhtamo masterfully uses light painting to create dynamic imagery. Whether he's creating fantastical creatures in the forest or flowers on open water, his photographs are a beautiful demonstration of patience and artistry. For one of his latest pieces, Serenity, he takes us inside the process of painting two swans on a lake.

In a behind-the-scenes video shot by his wife Sanna, we see Huhtamo creating his light painting. What makes it even more incredible is that it's impossible for Huhtamo to see exactly what he's painted until the exposure is complete. “Everything you see in the picture has really happened during the exposure,” Huhtamo tells My Modern Met. “There's something magical about it. When you draw things blindfolded, you have to concentrate fully on your body movements and muscle memory. It's challenging, but also rewarding. Such experience makes you want to push the limits higher and higher. I still find it a really inspiring way to express myself.”

Depending on how detailed the composition is, it can take Huhtamo about a week to learn to draw the image with light. He begins each piece with a sketch before turning to his light tools. Likening the process to learning choreography, he then practices the drawing in sections. By the time he makes his way to the location, he's well-rehearsed and ready to go.

When he's in the moment and on location, Huhtamo finds the entire process meditative. He carefully selects the settings for his light paintings in order to create a connection between the environment and what's drawn. In doing so, he hopes to create an illusion that what is painted is a natural part of the scene.

Watch as Hannu Huhtamo creates an incredibly realistic light painting of two swans.

Huhtamo is known for his fine art light paintings, which are often set in forests or on open water.

Light Painting of Swans in the Forest by Hannu Huhtamo

Artistic Light Painting by Hannu Huhtamo

Light Painting on Water by Hannu Huhtamo

Hannu Huhtamo: Website | Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Hannu Huhtamo.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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