Our Thanksgiving feast was winding down. We’d each found a little extra room for pie and had chased that with coffee and Grand Marnier– when the lights went out. A power failure. A transformer had blown out and several towns would be without power for about two hours.

Luckily, we’d lit lots of candles and had more on hand. The weather was mild on Thursday and so the temperature was not a concern. It felt really cozy with the complete silence and only candles illuminating things. It was so pretty, I decided it was time to use the “candlelight” function on my camera.

still life with candlesStill life with ravished Thanksgiving table and candles

At some point, I unwittingly found out how long the exposure was on the camera in such dark conditions when I picked up a candle to go to the other room, thinking the shot was done. I had discovered time lapse photography!

The next hour was spent doing different movements holding candles along with my Uncle Moose. They started out as abstract movements and designs.

I would love to do a dance in time lapse. The quality of the candlelight is spectacular and intense, and the breeze created by the movements varies the shape of the flame itself. You wouldn’t be able to see much of the dancer– only in ghostlike forms at most.

The timelapse candle dance would also be a good way for testing out one’s use of levels and space when choregraphing. Maybe you shouldn’t use an open flame when dancing, though. Perhaps a flashlight or a headlamp (like the ones worn by miners) would be a safer alternative.


Things started getting silly. We tried to play a game of tic tac toe… Uncle Moose was supposed to do the vertical grid lines, but started playing his”O”s immediately!


Mr. P’s next assignment was to make some gelato. I did mine in a cone with a cherry on top. You can see me leaning in to taste it.


The assignments started getting a little more abstract. “Send a message to the surreal,” said Mr. P, whatever that means. Uncle Moose cloned himself and his candle three times (which you can do by obscuring the candle with your hand while moving it to the next spot), while I sent out a distress signal.


I like this one because it looks like a UFO descending onto our Thanksgiving table. Unfortunately for the ET’s, they were a few hours late for the food! I made this by spiraling the candle on one level.


I was curious about the properties of other light-emitting devices on the time elapse. This is the light from a cell phone screen, traced over Mr. P’s profile. It looks very etheareal. If you could keep your cell from timing off too quickly, it would work quite nicely for one’s time lapse dance. I think glowsticks would be awesome, too.


A spiral, reflected behind me again in the window.