Thursday 16 December 2021

Light Painting

I don't photograph very often during the Winter months due to the cold shortened days and family commitments. Last Winter I discovered light painting and I enjoyed spending evenings in the comfort of a darkened dining room with a camera, tripod and cable release creating images using cheap torches and a small collection of specialist light painting tools. My first attempts at light painting were at first very frustrating as I got used to the technique whilst fumbling around in the dark for the tools and accidently kicking the tripod but I ended the Winter months with some photographs that I'm proud to have taken. You can read about my first foray into light painting here.

"Hot Stuff" - Black Fibre Optic brush and yellow gel

This Winter is the second chapter of my light painting journey. I've invested in some extra tools to expand the possibilities and also to make life more efficient.    

My light painting tools

I've added a set of colour hoods, screw on colour gels, an extendable white sword all from Light Painting Brushes and liquid chalk. This Winter has been frustrating because my only model, granddaughter Bess has moved across town so I've had to be content with still life setups so far using a guitar and a violin against a black sheet.

The colour hoods have proven to be a very good investment. They simply push onto a rubber universal connector which holds any cheap torch and colour is directed towards a subject without light spillage hitting the camera sensor. 

In this case (above) several colours were used on sections of the guitar in short bursts and a white fibre optic brush with a blue screw on gel attached was used to frame the guitar. Completed in a single 90 sec exposure in a dark bedroom. No photoshopping has been done to any of the images. They're all straight out of camera with basic noise reduction, contrast and vibrancy added.

Once I'd worked out the technique, strength and timing of the torches it was a simple case of varying the composition and finish of the image using different tools and colours.

One thing that I discovered was that the guitar was constructed from a light coloured wood which took the coloured light well, whereas the violin was made from a darker wood which didn't take the colour from the hoods at all.

I'm very happy with the results using the new tools and with the Christmas holiday fast approaching I'll take a rest and work out my next light painting project for the new year. 

In the meantime I've put together a short audio / visual display entitled "An Introduction to Light Painting" with a selection of light painting photographs taken over the last 12 months. You can find it on Vimeo or from the Audio Visual Presentation page on this blog.