Surreal Desert Landscapes Painted on a Canvas Made of Sky

Reuben Wu uses drones to paint primordial desert landscapes with light.

With his ongoing project "Lux Noctis," photographer and filmmaker Reuben Wu lights  landforms to reveal imaginative viewpoints wrapped in the night sky, free from human interference. In many ways, Wu is studio lighting the world around us. I sat down with Wu recently to hear more about his unique process and vision.

I search for distinctive landforms, in remote places, which I then illuminate and photograph at night. I schedule my shoots to happen inside the window between dusk and moonrise, so I can begin with the night at its darkest. There is prior research done in the general areas I shoot, but I scout on location [during daylight hours] to decide on final subjects and compositions. 

I illuminate the landscape using a small LED lamp mounted on a GPS-controlled drone. I launch the drone and position it in specific points above and around the

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