Primary Tools & Materials:

Additional Tools & Materials: tripod, camera remote, Adobe Photoshop

For this study I wanted to "write" with light - using sparklers. I used to do this for fun on the Fourth of July, but until this evening I'd never tried to spell something out. It took a lot of patience and a little Photoshop, but I did get a few good letter Ms. 

This first image is a mirrored and layered composition of one of the images captured with long exposure (about six seconds) of me waving a sparkler above my head to write an M. You can see my right hand mirrored under both bottom feet of the letter. I tried several times to create Ms of different shapes and styles, but ultimately decided to use a little Photoshop magic to make a bulkier, symmetrical letter M. I even inverted it to see what it might look like as a dark letter on a white background. Answer: weird! 

Sparklers are tough to work with. It's hard to mentally trace a shape in the air and keep things level and even. I had some help (thanks, Rebekah!) with taking the pictures because my remote control was wigging out, so it took some good timing and communication to open the shutter at the right time. 

In making letters from sparklers, places where you pause for a second or change direction are marked by brighter, bigger sparks. Because of this, It's difficult (if not impossible) to get a consistent stroke throughout the letter. The random dispersal of the sparks gives it a soft, fuzzy look.