Reuben Wu uses drones to paint surreal sci-fi landscapes with light
The spectacular photography of Reuben Wu blends a myriad of influences, from science fiction to 19th century romantic painting. Using a drone mounted with an LED, he literally paints the landscape with light to create eerie, otherworldly images.
Wu, a visual artist and musician, first got the idea to use drones as a light source several years ago and the Lux Noctis series was born. The first chapter in the series concentrated on rather straightforward "painting with light" but as Wu's skills evolved, so did the sophistication of the imagery.
Instead of hiding the light source, later images in the Lux Noctis series embraced the presence of the drone. Wu utilized clever time-lapse techniques to draw stunning halos of light over various mountains.
More recently, Wu presented a remarkable new series of images he calls Aeroglyphs. These shots again incorporate the trails of drone light to paint temporary geometric figures in the night sky. The exciting minimalism of the Aeroglyph project removes any landscape features to concentrate on creating symbols in the sky that resemble buttons on a video game keypad.
His most recent project, Terminus, is yet another exciting evolution in the aesthetic, incorporating the Aeroglyph symbolism with an entirely new landscape focus – glaciers. Shot at an altitude of 17,000 ft (5,200 m) in Peru, the Terminus project is another sublime series from Wu, this time attempting to document a landscape in decline by photographing a glacier that is rapidly disappearing due to climate change.
"I photographed the glacier with conflicting feelings," explains Wu of the Terminus project. "I wanted to show evidence of its alarming retreat, yet I was drawn to the epic scale of the ice which remained. In the end I leaned towards the latter, but each photograph represents a bleak reality, a fading memory of what once stood."
Check out a behind-the-scenes video below, with Wu describing how he shoots his fantastic images, and take a look through the gallery for a glimpse at some more of his remarkable work.