LIGHT PAINTING, or LIGHT DRWAING, is a PHOTOGRAPHIC technique in which EXPOSUERS are made by moving a hand-held light source while taking a LONG EXPOSURE photograph, Either to illuminate a subject or to shine a point of light directly at the CAMERA, or by moving the camera itself during exposure. The technique is used for both Scientific and Artistic purposes, as well as in Commercial Photography. Light painting has long inspired photographers with the technique capturing a moving light source whilst taking a long exposure photograph which is difficult to perfect but can produce exciting results.
The most common method of light painting is using a Fashlight and moving it around while shooting long exposures. We all know that trick, and many times it looks a little of the same!! This is why I really like when people think "out of the box" , With much more creative ways to do light painting. Using burning Steel Wool can create awesome looking photos. Its super cheap, creative and can give your Images the X-FACTOR....
If you shoot while there’s still a little light left in the sky will have a nice deep blue colour. Some people use this technique at night and combine it with painting with light (using either torchlight or portable flash) to build up an image or to capture star trails.
Shoot Raw so you can make fine adjustments to colour temperature and exposure in post-processing. In the meantime, set white balance to daylight – that will help the camera record the colours accurately.
When shooting with burning STEEL WOOL, make sure you do it in a safe place, and also make sure to take a fire extinguisher with you or the like, often perfect just after rain when everyone else is inside hiding from the weather. Find that location and you could be rewarded with a creative reflection as the FIRE LIGHTS Up your scene....
If you’re using a wide-angle lens (recommended for the dramatic perspective) then move as close as you can to the arc of the burning sparks of steel wool for a strong composition. It is wise to wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible, plus a hat and safety goggles, in case one of those sparks lands on you. You should also use a UV filter to protect the front element of your lens from burning sparks.....
BASIC SET UP -
Set up your camera on tripod with remote/ cable release attached - to fire the camera Turn off any image stabilization (IS or VR) on your lens
Turn OFF “long exposure noise reduction” unless you have a lot of patience. What it does it takes a second exposure of equal length of just black, then merges it with your shot to get rid of the noise. But if you’re doing a 2 minute exposure, you have to wait another 2 minutes to review your image and be able shoot again. I don’t use it
And because we’re on a low ISO noise shouldn’t be a big factor ISO low – ideally 100 or 200 Aperture – start around f/5.6 – depending on your scene, then adjust from there if you want more or less depth of field. Keep in mind the smaller aperture you use, each stop you close down doubles the amount of time you need to be painting and exposing. So a 60 second exposure at f/5.6 becomes an 8 minute exposure at f/16! Shutter speed – start around 60 seconds.
Focus using the flashlight – then lock your focus.
Never point the hand held light source at the camera unless you want at times some distracting light bugs in the final image
THE ZIG ZAG TRAIN WRECK -
Situated in the Blue Mountains a perfect location to show off your creative flare. You don't have to wait until the night hour as there is a abandoned tunnel at this once tourist attraction. With some very effective and easy to use tools from Light Painting Brushes, you can create some awesome scenes with very little photo manipulation required.
The Images below were on a exposure of about 180 to 300 SECONDS at a APERTURE of F8 and 100 ISO - A little flash light was used to lighten the scene and the rest was created from the various coloured Light Painting Brushes -