A few days ago, Joannie and I had the pleasure of creating a really cool light painting of a 1956 Ford Victoria at the Richard I Bong Airport in Superior, Wisconsin. As you can see, “Vicky” is a stunning automobile! When she pulled into the airport, I knew this light painting was going to be very special!
Back in March, at Motorhead Madness in Duluth, I met one of the car’s owners, Lyndon, and his fiancé Kalley. They both loved what they saw at my light painting booth and they reserved a light painting of Vicky right there at the show.
Light Painting a Car at an Airport?
Oftentimes, selecting a place to light paint their vehicle is one of the toughest decisions to make for my clients. Since, in most cases, they have no idea what might work, I need to coach them as best as I can beforehand.
In reality, my biggest criterion, other than it needs to be fairly dark there, is that the site needs to be safe once it does get dark. After all, we’re going to be there for a few hours and we have their priceless vehicle there and I also have a lot of equipment there too. So working at a site with no riff-raff is pretty important!
How did we come to select the Richard I Bong Airport for the backdrop of this 1956 Ford Victoria light painting? Well, we talked about possible Duluth area locations during Motorhead Madness. I had the cool light painting you see below on display in my booth of Al White’s N71AW Dyke Delta airplane that I had light painted there.
After showing them that spot, they really liked the idea. I contacted Al to see if we could get permission to be there with a car. He talked to the people he knew and we got the go-ahead.
There’s A Lot of Cool History Here
Lyndon was kind enough to share some information about Vicky with me and I thought it would be nice to, pardon the pun, paint a bigger picture of this light painting of a 1956 Ford Victoria.
Vicky’s owners are Lyndon Paquette, Paul Tribbey, and Wally Tribbey.
Birthday: Ordered in Duluth, Minnesota in 1956 at Ryland Ford, and she was built in Detroit, Michigan.
Car: 1956 Ford Victoria 2-door hardtop. Her paint colors are Colonial White and Raven Black. She arrived with factory power windows, seats, and steering.
Under the hood: a 292 Y block V8 with the Thunderbird Holley 4 Barrel Package.
The extras: Bummperetts, Fender Skirts, Spotlights, Dual Exhaust, and a Continental Kit.
The Terminal Hanger at Richard I Bong Airport is filled with parts of planes that they show during tours of the facility. The brickwork on the outside of Terminal Hanger was repurposed from the open hearth steel mill furnaces that used to be in West Duluth. In addition to the cool brick, I love the big red windows and all of the ivy growing on the structure.
All-in-all, this a wonderful backdrop for this light painting of a 1956 Ford Victoria.
It’s Never Easy!
Joannie and I arrived a short time before Lyndon and Vicky. As I was putting my gear together, I heard Vicky purring as she entered the airport. All I could think was wow, this is going to be so cool! Lyndon and I chatted about what angle of the car was important to him and then we placed Vicky just right in the scene. After a few test shots, we knew we had that part nailed down.
Then, we just had to wait for it to get dark enough to begin the light painting. At most airports, there’s lots of stuff in the air in addition to the aircraft. Like radio waves. I’m not sure if it was the radio waves, all of the iron ore in the ground up north, or whatever, but we sure had our share of issues getting our wireless strobes to talk to the camera consistently. I did come up with a good workaround, but it was an adventure!
Once we got it working, the light painting magic began! After the strobe work, I did quite a few long exposure passes with my light wands, and the images that popped up on my iPad Pro looked pretty darn amazing!
The Post-Production Magic
With light painting, post-production is where the magic comes together. It’s also the most time-consuming part of the whole process. It’s where I decide which of the many exposures, 294 in the case of this cool light painting of a 1956 Ford Victoria, I wish to include in the creation of the final artwork.
In the end, I ended up using 77 of those images in this stunning light painting. I’ve got a one-minute “build video” on our YouTube Channel, the link is right here. It shows those 77 images all coming together to create this beautiful light painting of Vicky.
A big thank you to Lyndon and Kalley for asking us to create this one-of-a-kind art of your wonderful 1956 Ford Victoria! It was so fun meeting you both and creating this with you. We wish you the best on your upcoming August wedding and in your lives together as well! – M&J