Whilst browsing flickr for local photographs, I came across these exciting light painting images taken at Beacon Hill in the Lickey Hills Country Park. They were taken by amateur photographer Jonathan Swift, who appears to enjoy photographing Beacon Hill as I recalled featuring some of his images before! I decided to ask him a few questions:
1. Where do you live and what do you do? Is photography a hobby?
I live in the B5 area of Birmingham, just outside the city centre and work only a two minute walk away at Opal 1 student accommodation where I am a security and maintenance guard. Photography has been a regular hobby of mine since 2009 when my wife got me a Sony a230 for Christmas.
2. How did you get interested in photography?
I originally became interested in photography as a teenager back in the 90’s, I studied it at college in an extra curricular club and really enjoyed the darkroom processing. Between then and 2009, I have often mentioned wanting to purchase an SLR camera of my own to get back into it but until that Christmas, I never thought I would be able to raise enough money to do so.
3. What inspired you to try light painting?
I had a go at light painting after discovering an amazing photographer online called Evan Sharboneau. I have learned a lot of new techniques from him which have kept me interested in photography and made me aware of many different styles and techniques, many of which I am still to try. After a few dummy runs and the all important safety checks, my friend Dan Stone and myself trekked up to Beacon Hill in the middle of the night and took turns playing with sparklers and waving ignited wire wool over our heads while the other operated both of our cameras. It was really good fun and I would highly recommend that all photographers out there who have not yet tried it give it a go…but be careful & respect the area in which you are doing it! Dan Stone also deserves recognition for the final result of my images, if it was not for his technical and creative knowledge they would not have been anywhere near as nice.
4. How you see your photography developing in the future?
I currently do not know what the future holds for my photography. For the past couple of years I have dreamt of being able to turn my hobby into my career but it is a very competitive market and I still have much to learn. Creatively, I am currently looking to photograph models but would ultimately like to combine this with other techniques I have learned to create shoots with beautiful scenery as backdrops and maybe throw in a little light painting too.
5. What are your favourite B31/45 places to photograph – I notice you seem to love Beacon Hill – me too! :D
To date, I have not been very adventurous with locations but plan to change that during the summer period. I love Beacon Hill and spend a lot of time there with my family when the weather permits it but have not really explored the whole area with them. I remember as a child going through the woods and even remember there being some sort of man made stream running downhill somewhere in there but I may be confusing it with somewhere else! So as it stands, Beacon Hill is my number 1 spot in the B31/45 area but I am looking to explore the area more and am always open to scenic suggestions.
Click image for larger – all images are copyright of Jonathan Swift
Thanks to Jonathan for sharing his images with us. You can view more of his photographs on Flickr