Minnesota Zoo Light Painting

Steve and Sarah’s Minnesota Zoo Light Painting

Here is the story behind Steve and Sarah’s pretty Minnesota Zoo Light Painting.

A short time ago, we shared Steve and Sarah’s wet and wonderful Minnesota Zoo wedding with you. So this is kind of a “Part Two” of sorts.

A fall color wedding photo of the bride, groom and their wedding party staying dry in a picnic shelter in Eagan, MN on a very rainy day.

Steve, Sarah and their wonderful wedding party staying dry on a rainy day.

This blog post is about the Minnesota Zoo light painting we were miraculously able to create with them. I say that not because we were surprised that we could create a light painted wedding photograph. Nope, we have that pretty much down by now. What we were totally surprised about, was that it stopped raining long enough for us to create anything outdoors that Saturday!

The World’s Only Light Painting Wedding Photographers

Once Joannie and I had our dance coverage completed, I checked outside to see if the weather was going to cooperate. It had been raining right up to that point of the evening.

Much earlier in the day, it was pouring cats and dogs when we arrived at the zoo. So Joannie and I were waiting in the van for the rain to slow down enough to actually get out of the van to unload.

I had been checking the weather radar on my iPhone, and when I got out of the van, I accidentally dropped it on the flooded street. This was right outside the front entrance to the Minnesota Zoo. I immediately pulled it out of the rushing water, took it out of the case, and shut it off. (Two days in a bag of dry rice, and I was lucky to have a working iPhone once again!)

So now I was using Joannie’s iPhone for weather updates. That and I had to upload my camera triggering app onto her iPhone so we could fire the camera during their light painting. As luck would have it, it wasn’t raining, for now. More rain was on the way, so we had to get busy, fast.

The starting image of the bride and groom before their Minnesota Zoo light painting began.

The “before” light painting photograph of Steve and Sarah.

After getting permission to go inside the closed zoo, I ran all of our light painting equipment out to the location in the Central Plaza. It’s the spot near the big water sculpture, just outside of the entrance Russia’s Grizzly Coast. Three lights, two light stands, a tripod, camera, lens, a flash and a camera trigger, a big 48-inch softbox, a chair and an umbrella.

In case it started to rain again, I put everything under one of the picnic area shelters while I made multiple trips back and forth. I brought an umbrella and a chair for Joannie to sit on so she didn’t have to be on her feet in the cool, breezy, damp night. It was so windy that she actually used the umbrella as a windbreak.

Minnesota Zoo Light Painting

We instructed Steve and Sarah to come outside to the spot in about 5 minutes. We also requested that they not let the door close behind them or we might all spend the night outside at the zoo! Joannie and I were pretty close to ready when they arrived, and so their Minnesota Zoo light painting began.

The nice thing about creating light painted wedding photographs for our brides and grooms is that they only need to be there for a few minutes for their part of the light painting. The first job is to have them “in focus” which is always the hardest part in the dark. Once we have the image we need of the two of them, they can go back to their party. But in this case, just don’t let the door close behind you Steve and Sarah!

It was a weird feeling, being all alone outside in the zoo after it’s closed. I’m pretty sure that they run sounds through the speaker system all night long to help the animals feel “at home” there. But if you’re there all alone, on a cold, damp, night, it’s kind of creepy. It would be a great spot for a Halloween party!

More Rain Is Coming!

Because the next wave of rain wasn’t very far away, I got to work light painting the whole scene as fast as I could. All the while, Joannie was firing the camera with her iPhone each time I got to a new location. Most of the time I was lighting the scene with the light stand fully extended at 20 feet tall. Once we had the images we needed, we returned back inside just a few minutes before it got very soggy once again. Thank you for leaving the door wedged open Steve and Sarah!

Here’s Steve and Sarah’s completed Minnesota Zoo light painting! Pretty cool isn’t it?

A stunning Minnesota Zoo light painting photograph created at the zoo's Central Plaza.

Steve and Sarah’s completed light painted wedding photograph.

And just for fun, here’s the very short “making of” movie we’ve posted on YouTube. Thank you for watching!

“Minnesota Zoo Light Painting” – © 2017 Michael Anderson Photography.

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