The surreal art of ‘unnatural lighting’

Introducing artificial light in a natural environment opens the mind to another way of seeing, says photographer and drone pilot Reuben Wu.

Reuben Wu created this image by using lights mounted on drones to dramatically illuminate the Pastoruri Glacier in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.

The impressive landscapes on Earth can take a person’s breath away. But for Reuben Wu, that wasn’t enough. Wu—a photographer, visual artist, and music producer—felt that the planet’s majestic mountains, glaciers, and beaches were missing something.

Specifically, unnatural lighting.

The idea was born from a mistake. One night near Death Valley, California, Wu set a camera to make a time-lapse series in the dark. A pickup truck drove by and washed out the scene with its harsh headlights.

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