How This Photographer Shoots Light Halos Above UK Landmarks

How This Photographer Shoots Light Halos Above UK Landmarks

A photographer with a passion for long exposures has shared an insight into how he creates UFO-style light halos within his landscape images. His posts containing his work have garnered hundreds of thousands of likes on the video-sharing site TikTok.

Will Ferguson, a UK-based photographer and filmmaker, has been a fan of light painting ever since he first began taking photos at age 17. Starting his journey with long exposure images of cars on motorways, he later combined his photo skills with his drone flying experience. He discovered a company that manufactures a mechanism that allows for small LED lights to be attached to drones, and the rest is history.

And the hard work is paying off, with some of Ferguson’s behind-the-scenes videos demonstrating how he achieved his images hitting viewing figures above the two million mark. “The response to my behind-the-scenes TikTok video has been crazy,” he said. “I have always loved sharing my work online but have never experienced such a big boom of engagement with a video before. My TikTok grew 25K followers and the video reached 1.5 million users within 48 hours.”

On the back of that, Ferguson has been approached by brands about potential collaborations.

Featured within his most viewed video is St Michael’s Tower, a listed building atop the Glastonbury Tor hill, a subject he says he chose as he favors tall structures and because of the “eerie way” the tower lights up when illuminated by the drone.

The skill of mastering such a photo comes in being able to balance the brightness of the LED lights on the drone, and that of the stars in the sky. The wrong exposure may cause you to lose the latter while trying to compensate for the former. The variables, Ferguson explains, are the size and speed of the drone halo, which need to align with the shutter speed. In this case, that’d be 30 seconds. He explains:

When the drone goes behind the Glastonbury Tor, I start taking the image. I then ensure the drone’s speed matches my camera’s exposure time to stop taking the image when the drone returns behind The Tor, creating a complete circle.

So, now that he has many aspiring photographers following his every move, what advice would he give to those looking to shoot similar images?

Shoot passion projects. Shoot as much content as you can and shoot images that you can’t get enough of. That way you will always take great images and always want to innovate and improve.

As for his next steps, Ferguson says he plans to continue shooting drone halos and light painting images. You can follow his work on his website, Instagram, and TikTok.

All images were used with the permission of Will Ferguson.

Jack Alexander's picture

A 28-year-old self-taught photographer, Jack Alexander specialises in intimate portraits with musicians, actors, and models.

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