Photographer Uses Drone Lighting to Make Earth Look Like a Distant Planet

Long Exposure Photography

Photographer Reuben Wu continually finds new ways to make the natural landscape look like it’s out of this world. Thanks to his creative use of lighting and aerial views via drone, rock formations take on a beguiling quality as the land is tinted in hues like reds and pinks and the skies an orange ochre. In addition to the tints cast on the environment, Wu uses long-exposure photography (and later photo composites) as a way to “draw” different motifs in the sky using light paths. The results are breathtaking and a bit surreal. Although we recognize them as places on Earth, the unnatural lighting and hovering symbols can feel like an alien planet.

Through his photographs, Wu wants us to question the disorientation that we may feel when looking at them. His work straddles the line between nature documentation and art. As the gentle peaks of desert hills are spotlighted with a floating halo or the chiseled formations are cloaked in blue, we’re left with alternative ways to think about the landscape. And in doing so, we find new things to admire about the Earth, and it implores us to protect the planet—particularly from the adverse effects of further climate change—before it’s too late.

Scroll down to see some of Wu’s latest works. And because many of his pieces are composite photos, he shares their development in illuminating videos posted on his Instagram. Check some of those out, below.

Photographer Reuben Wu creates light painting photography with the help of long exposures and drones.

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Often, he'll create unnatural lighting or beguiling spotlights with drones.

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He offers peeks into his process on his popular Instagram account.

 

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Reuben Wu: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Reuben Wu.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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