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Let There Be Light

Tuesday February 12th, 2013

by Maria Luci

Already in the French Alps on assignment, Kamil Tamiola decided to tackle a project of his own. A seasoned outdoor and adventure photographer, Kamil spent his nights in the Alps creating a micro-documentary called “Let There Be Light: An Introduction to Long Exposure Night Photography.” This 20-minute long film is aimed at outdoor photographers and covers tips and techniques for creating beautiful long-exposure photographs.

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Kamil specializes in bringing studio techniques into unexpected locations—from ice caves, to sheer mountains faces to populated city streets. He first got into adventure and outdoor photography in order to work with “inspirational people who push the boundaries of human stamina and determination.” He’s also always been fascinated by astrophotography, calling it “inspirational.” Through years of working on night-time long exposure photography,  Kamil thought it would be nice to give back and share some of the knowledge he’s acquired along the way—especially since he’s continually receiving requests for behind-the-scenes/informational content. The photographs shared and the ideas conveyed in “Let There Be Light” are the “outcome of laborious trail-and-error attempts to capture appealing night photos in the mountains over the course of 14 months.” The film itself goes in-depth into tips for capturing outdoor long-exposure shots and discusses variables like atmospheric conditions, moon phases, cameras, lens choices and more.

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Nikon, Redged, Clik Elite, Cameraland and RAB provided most of the gear for this project. Filming took place on a glacial field at the foothills of the La Tour Ronde summit in the French Alps. Kamil’s partner, Lumi Toma, handled videography while Santiago Katz handled logistics and safety coordination. The shoot days were challenging, as they found themselves at the mercy of the mountain’s harsh weather and landscape,

The biggest challenge was going across heavily crevassed glacial terrain with more than 150-lb of load distributed among three people. We were truly challenged on the night video recording night as we were facing 5 degree Fahrenheit ambient temperature and 35-mph wind with gusts up to 45-mph.

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Things also got a bit scary when Santiago fell while leading a traverse—luckily, Kamil was able to “capture his fall” since they were roped together. It made for a scary, yet memorable experience. All the obstacles overcome were worth it to Kamil though, who’s very happy with the finished documentary—and the amazing feedback he’s received from it,

We are overwhelmed with the publicity our video has received! It has been reviewed by major online magazines and photography websites. However, what pleases us the most is the fact that Gizmodo, Lifehacker, FStoppers, DIY Photography, ISO1200 Magazine and similar popular websites picked up our low-budget production and gave us very good reviews. The video was viewed more than 500 000 times within first four weeks! Moreover, people started sharing with us their own photographs asking for further advice. Ultimately, we have received two serious proposals to write a textbook on the subject of long exposure photography.

View “Let There Be Light” here:

Kamil says he and his team are “definitely” planning on producing similar documentaries, adding, “I consider behind-the-scenes material (such as what is covered in this documentary) an integral part of every single assignment. If a single photo is worth a thousand words, what is the value of the story behind it?”

View more of Kamil’s work at alpine-photography.com.

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