Eric Paré is 360 degree bullet-time expert and light-painting/stop-motion photographer who recently captured some of the most incredible salt desert images we have ever seen at 500px.
He explains the project in the article below, but if you’d like to see more when you’re done reading (and you will), be sure to check out his Little Circle set, follow him on 500px, visit his website, or check him out on Instagram and Facebook.
We were just coming back from a full trip around the world, and our senses were burning for more. We just could not stop there. South America was supposed to be the first stop of that project, but timing and logistic made it impossible to make it.
After a few months traveling from deserts to deserts on 4 continents, searching for clear horizons, always pushing the limits of the emptiness, we told ourselves, “Let’s do it.” We bought our plane tickets for Bolivia.
During the preparation, we checked online for the different visuals that we could expect once in the salt desert of Uyuni. Some of the possibilities were crisp salt, hexagon shapes and mirror effect.
It’s a very remote place, and info was quite scarce about the weather, so we did not set high expectation, and any of those visuals would satisfy us. Well we got everything, in a spectacular way.
Experiencing a sunset over a silent mirror is extraordinary beyond words. The most peaceful time we ever had. When the clouds move away from you over the reflection, the horizon becomes an abstract concept and you lose all notions of perspective. Everything is far. Everything is close.
“I have an ability to be marveled very easily in life. I like to look at things as if it was the first and the last time I would see them. It puts me into a state where I’m conscious of many details, subtleties… And conscious of the chance that I have to be there at that particular moment…
We were far from the “ideal” conditions: salt and water, dressing up in the car, the burning sun during the day, the cold and the wind at night, having no external eye on my physical performance… Without forgetting all the effects the altitude has on the body, which sometimes makes it hard to work.
It’s a raw process that relies partly on our instinct. At the sunset, we don’t have much time to get everything ready. We both make quick decisions and trust each other.
What fascinated me was the total silence of the desert, the almost-absence of life and also the human body: its fragility and its capacity to adapt in many different circumstances.”
– Kim Henry
We first spent a couple of days doing location scouting, then we went back to our favorite spots where we knew we could get dramatic mirror sunsets. This is where we did most of our pictures and short film sequences. Living on a mirror canvas gave us totally different visuals on each shooting day. The only common things were the shape of the mountains. The rest was guided by the sun, the wind and the clouds.
I’m not using any fancy tools and I like to travel light, so I simply brought two Canon bodies and 3 lenses (18mm, 35mm, 300mm), two small tripods and a GoPro to get some behind-the-scenes sequences. Everything fits easily in my backpack.
El Salar de Uyuni
The Uyuni salt flat is the largest salt desert on our planet (10,582 square kilometers or 4,086 sq mi). It is located in the southern part of Bolivia and can be accessed easily from the city of Uyuni, via bus or airplane from La Paz. Most of our pictures have been made in the north part of the desert, near volcan Tunupa.
About Little Circle
Kim and I spent a couple of months experimenting with light-painting, stop-motion and 360 degree photography in a tiny black studio. On the very last day of the shooting, we came to a point where the results were quite good, and we wanted to make a memorable picture. As we were shooting in 360 degree with a circular rig, we asked ourselves what would be the greatest circle that we could achieve. That is, a full spin around the world.
Moving from an ultra small dark room to the infinite deserts of our planet. We explored emptiness and infinity through the delicate and precise dance movements. Scenes have been captured in Australia, Mongolia, Morocco, Iceland and Bolivia. The end result is a short dance film showing our work in the studio and in the wilds.
About Kim Henry
Kim is a contemporary dancer, a nature lover and a delicate warrior. Liking to push back her own limits, she seeks for projects and challenges that allow her to evolve. That’s why she is always ready to brave harsh conditions to perform her art.
About Eric Paré
I am a travel and yoga addict, 360 degree bullet-time expert and light-painting/stop-motion photographer. I do most of my studio work by hand using a flashlight instead of traditional lighting equipment. My technique is explained in the LightSpin Documentary