I’m very pleased to share another really cool light painted photograph with you. This one is a light painting of a 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility. I created this image for the City of Plymouth and their soon-to-be-retiring Chief of Police and Public Safety Director, Mike Goldstein.
Joannie and I have been creating the Plymouth Police Department photographs for many years now. So when I heard that Mike would be retiring, I suggested that we create a light painting for him. I recently did that very same thing for Jim Fransen when he retired as the Police Chief in Robbinsdale, MN.
The majority of Plymouth’s squad car fleet are Ford Police Interceptor Utility vehicles. These are pretty cool vehicles when you get up close to them. Light painting one is pretty awesome too because there are lots of small details that light painting photography really excels at highlighting.
Working His Way To The Top
Mike Goldstein has spent the majority of his life as a Plymouth, MN resident and graduated from Armstrong High School in Plymouth. Mike started his police career as a Police Explorer for Plymouth Police Department and started then his formal police career at Plymouth PD in 1990. He rose through the ranks of the department and was appointed Chief of Police in 2004. Then in 2015, he was appointed to Director of Public Safety for the City where he leads both the police and fire departments.
Light Painting a Police Utility Squad Car with Officers
At first, Mike was somewhat reluctant to be in the photograph all by himself. But with some friendly persuasion, he did agree to be in the light painting. It turns out that Mike would not be the only police officer to be photographed with the squad car. A few other officers were on hand that night and I photographed them at the scene too!
Deputy Chief Erik Fadden also had his portrait with the squad car. But even more importantly, he was my “light painting engineer” that night! He did everything from positioning the squad car, firing the camera, to flipping light switches and circuit breakers to make it dark enough for me to light paint.
Reserve Officer Lars Impola also had his portrait in the scene and spent a chunk of the evening helping out as well. Without Erik and Lars’ help, this would have been very difficult to pull-off. Thank you, gentlemen!
In planning for the light painting, Erik and I scouted out a few options and decided to use the front of the Plymouth City Hall & Public Safety Building as the backdrop for the squad car. I liked the architectural features and knew that they would enhance the final image.
The biggest problem that we had (actually Erik had) was making it dark enough to light paint there. Erik tells me that it was an eye-opening experience finding out where the switches and circuit breakers were for parking lot lights and the like. Now he knows more about the building than he probably ever wanted to know! It made all the difference as it allowed me to use longer exposures to light paint the scene.
Light Painting of a 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility – The Movie
Now that you’ve seen some of the cool before and after images, it’s time to see how it all came to be.
We’ve got a short video on our Youtube Channel with all of the images that I used to create all of the final light painted versions. Then you’ll see “the magic” as the light painting of a 2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility (and the police officers) appears, one Photoshop layer at a time. Altogether, there are more than 80 individual layers that make up these light painted creations.
Thank you for reading our post and stay safe out there! – M&J