Light Graffiti in Wadi Rum for Low Impact Fun

wadi rum light graffiti A quick tutorial on how to make your own low-impact light graffiti, in the desert or anywhere it’s dark.

Although I can appreciate the artistry of good graffiti, I don’t necessarily support it because of graffiti’s potentially harmful effects on Earth’s atmosphere and because of its borderline vandalistic properties (see our post on Sheikh graffiti seen from Space). But light graffiti or light painting, like moss graffiti, dissolves both of those concerns. I recently had some fun creating light graffiti with my friend at Wadi Rum, Jordan. See how we did it.

wadi rum light graffiti

If you have a DSLR camera, you’re good to go. I am no camera buff, but I do know that this kind of professional device will allow you to control the shutter speed of the shots, which are taken in low-light conditions – in darks rooms or outside at night.

ISO and aperture settings also need to be fiddled with, and the anything-and-everything on the technicalities of light graffiti can be found here (links to PDF).

wadi rum light graffiti

There are plenty of homemade YouTube tutorials, as well. In 2008, several commercials showing super sped-up light graffiti were made to promote the new Ford Kuga, like this one:

YouTube Preview Image

My tech-savvy friend, Lindsay Rassmann, suggested we do a little experimentation with light graffiti before retiring for the night in our tent at a camp in Wadi Rum last month. Her top-notch Canon Rebel T3I was placed on a tripod, and we found two sleek little flashlights to use.

wadi rum light graffiti

Their batteries must have been Energizer, because the lights lasted as we kept going and going…staying up for nearly three hours, having so much fun with our twilight time-lapse photography.

As the night wore on, we refined our skills (finally achieving legibility for our textual creations) and got inventive with our light painting. My personal pièce de résistance was a text that read, “Wadi Rum,” paying homage to the place that consistently gave us a breathtaking dusky mountain-and-sky backdrop, stars and all, for our pictures.

Lindsay wrote a “Hi Mom” in the air, which gave me the idea that these pictures would make great postcards.

For a no-mess activity that is also free if you’ve got the goods (a nice camera and some LED action), light graffiti is an enchanting choice. As it is aesthetically pleasing and brings no harm to the environment, I give it a glowing recommendation!

Images via Lindsay Rassmann

About Kelly Vaghenas

A recent graduate of Montclair State University, where she double majored in Dance and Anthropology and minored in Arabic, Kelly loves exploring cultural and performing arts, learning foreign languages, cooking healthy food, and frequenting her favorite ethnic restaurants. Her wanderlust keeps her intent on traveling the world, and starting in the summer of 2011 during her trip to Lebanon, CouchSurfing became her way of finding free accommodation and new friends. She is obsessed with Pinkberry frozen yogurt and, after recently discovering that the majority of the chain's international locations are in the Middle East, is determined to place an order at every counter in the region during her lifetime...

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