Let there be light painting
This photo is a fun take on a technique in photography called light painting. In simple terms, light painting is when a light source is used on an object (or it could be the light itself) during a long exposure. The photo above was taken a few months back when I was looking for something creative and different to do with my camera. Sometimes I make projects for myself to not only see what results I get but to see the full capabilities of my camera. Small photography projects such as this, usually open the door to other photographic opportunities that I wouldn’t have thought of or knew that my camera could do.
The Camera and props
For this photo I used:
- remote shutter
- fish eye lens
- small key chain flashlight (about the size of a AA battery)
- colorful outdoor plant (I cannot remember the name of this plant)
- decorative hanging porch/deck flashing lights
- spritzer/water spray
The best time and place to create this type of shot is in a dark room or outside at night. In my case I chose my backyard deck shortly after sunset. I positioned my camera, focused the fish eye lens to infinity and placed the objects on my patio table and turned on the decorative lights. Lastly, I spritzed a few drops of water on the plant to add another element to the photo. Then I set my camera to bulb mode and pressed the remote shutter for 30 seconds. During the length of the exposure, I quickly flashed the small key chain light on random areas of the plant. The picture above is the result. It is very important to use a tripod and a remote shutter to reduce camera shake.
I had to practice a few times before I got the shot that pleased me. Lack of light makes it really difficult to properly focus on the subject. I found that when I practiced the composition during the daylight hours, it gave me a better idea of how to compose the shot later that night.
On a final note
There are so many wonderful and creative pictures you can create by light painting. The most popular use is writing letters and shapes in the dark using a light source during a long exposure. I attempted to do this (a few times) as well but was unsuccessful. Also, photographing fireworks is another form of light painting. It is very important to note that when doing long exposures you must use a tripod or a steady base for the camera. I have attempted in the past to use a rock as a steady base during a long exposure. My suggestion is if you do this, you also use a delayed shutter because pressing the shutter or remote shutter may move the camera bit. The weather here is still a bit icky and this project is a great way to keep the camera going during those not so nice days.
Spark creativity by capturing the world around you one photo at a time
8mm fish eye ISO 125 30sec