January 16th 2012
Original post at : http://www.fuelyourphotography.com/indie-spotlight-apai-biszign/
Each Monday, we’ll highlight one indie photographer whose body of work deserves special recognition. Please enjoy their photography here, and make it a point to enjoy the rest of their work on their website.
This week’s Indie Spotlight focuses on Apai Biszign, founder of Hikarimoji Light Graffiti. He hails from Malacca, Malaysia. Being surrounded by so much diverse art and people, it is no wonder he would take interest in a wondrous genre of photography termed light art, light graffiti, light calligraphy and light painting. Hikarimoji actually means “light word” in Japanese. Light graffiti involves long exposure photography and using lights to create designs, then adding effects to the photos.
His photographic arsenal includes both a Nikon D60 and Nikon D90, but he favors the Nikon D90. This camera offers numerous customizable settings and also has a battery grip with an extra battery, which is extremely helpful since opening a shutter for a minimum of three to four minutes takes a lot of battery juice. Some shoots can last many hours. Apai’s favorite lens is the Sigma 10-20mm F4. Since the backdrop of his photography is usually outdoors, the ultra wide effect and distortions this lens can accomplish are perfect for his art. To compliment his results, landscape photography elements are used, then the photo is infused with light graffiti.
His creative journey begins with sketches of his artistic vision. Then the light source is prepared, mostly LED and sometimes even a fire torch, for his nighttime shoots. His desirable destinations have appealing backgrounds and minimal light. When light writing, he uses his own body as the scale, so the letters will be about equal size. His final step is to visit his photography in Adobe Photoshop to enhance the image with WB corrections and sharpness, but no image manipulations are done.
Using the world around him as his canvas, Apai loves to shoot dark landscapes and use the ambient light from the moon or nearby cities to light up the skyline, dramatic clouds and minimal visibilities on the background details such as tree lines, rock, etc. Ideal locations with these features make his art of light visually pop even more.
Regarding camera settings, Apai advises manually controlling both the shutter speed and aperture. Using Bulb mode allows for the long exposure necessary for light graffiti by only limiting you to the life of your batteries. The shutter speed and aperture settings vary on how long the shutter is open, but the lowest ISO setting is optimal to allow only a minimal amount of light. Tripods and wireless remotes keep the camera stable and avoid motion blur; you can stay a good distance away and still control your settings. Experimentation is key when choosing a light instrument; torch lights, rear bicycle lights, toys and police traffic batons can all be used. Apai experiments with all these sources of light, but DIY LED lights is his comfort zone. As with any skill, practice makes perfect. Apai says, “writing in the air will improve after several attempts.”
Light graffiti has a long history dating back to the early 20th century. Pablo Picasso even experimented with light graffiti with the guidance of Gjon Mili, but Abai’s admiration is for the work of his present day fellow light graffiti artists Julien Breton, aka Kaalam, and Michael Bosanko.
Apai is currently preoccupied with his light calligraphy and outdoor commercial shoot series, but he would like to try a white studio light graffiti photo shoot in the future. Although this sort of setup is most suitable for fashion or product photography, he is hoping to achieve a grayish background, or even a colorful background if color gel is used in the light setup, with only the light graffiti as the main subject in the frame. Balancing the light just right will make the model in the frame nearly invisible.