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Meet Russell Klimas of Light & Lense in Colorado Springs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Russell Klimas.

Russell, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started photography back in September of 2016 when I was working on a Netflix movie and we were at Cottonwood Pass in the early morning doing B Roll. I saw people taking pictures of the mountains at sunrise and decided to join in, and surprisingly took some decent shots and after that movie bought my first decent camera, a Sony a6300.

I didn’t really start doing portraits until January 2017 and then while I was learning that year I needed to learn how to shoot fire performers. I had been shooting dancers before (as I have a background in dance) but dealing with fire is a totally different animal. While I was researching how to do this style I stumbled across the work of Eric Paré and instantly became obsessed with light painting. Starting in June of that same year I started my journey with my new obsession.

Since then I’ve traveled across the USA doing light painting in unique places in nature whenever I get the chance, continually being inspired by other light painters around the world. I started with tubes (the style which Eric Paré is known for) and have branched out from there using blades, whips, fiber optics, and even drones.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When it comes to light painting there is definitely a learning curve to be able to create what you want consistently, but thanks to modern technology digital cameras make it easy to try over and over again and see your results instantly. The light painting community is very open on sharing how we do everything. We often create tutorials that allow people to learn quickly if they dedicate the time and grow the community and possibilities within the style.

My biggest struggle was in November of 2017 while I was still in my infancy of light painting as I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in my abdomen. At this point, I was in pain 24/7 and had other health issues and that pain had grown steadily worse from June of that same year. The same time I started light painting. Did I mention you could literally see it sticking out of me and it was like the size of a small baby? You think I would have gone into the hospital by then but I’m clearly way to stubborn for my own good. So that set me back by about five months or so with chemo and surgery.

Light & Lense – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The business Light & Lense I started around a year ago. I went with that name because I cared more about my work being famous than my name itself, and it’s only a company of me! I deal with light and lenses so thought that sounds cool. My good friend Taylor came up with it.

The type of photography I specialize in is long exposure, specifically light painting. If you’ve ever seen pictures of car trails in the city or people writing out their names in sparklers that’s what it is, but what I do it MUCH more advanced. Normally a picture that you take with your cell phone is a fraction of a second. When you click the button you have your picture. With what I do the image can be from 2-3 seconds to 45 minutes or longer. Everything you see in the pictures below was created in-camera without the use of photo editing software to create any of the lighting effects.

When it comes to my current claim to fame it would be my drone light paintings. People have been using drones to do these for a while but not at the complex level I take it to. There is still a lot of ways to push drone light painting and I’ll be releasing stuff soon that has never been done before.

What sets me apart is that I can provide a service that almost no one else in the state can do at the same level. I realize that it’s niché but that is what makes it more powerful.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
When it comes to what I’m most proud of to date it’s either being in the UK Daily Mail newspaper or doing a Tedx Talk on light painting itself. My biggest goal is to get more people interested in light painting and getting us away from our computer screens and creating something. It almost feels like magic when you make these images that you can’t see with your eyes.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Hannah Bowlby
Nick and Kylie Miller
Porscha Conrad

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