Day 82 – Light Painting

At the end of the week, we gain an extra hour of light in the evenings as the clocks change for British Summer Term, so now is the perfect time to make the most of the darker evenings and have a go at light painting. These are photos that I took last night and that I edited this morning… I was hoping for some stars, but I wasn’t lucky.

  • Tripod
  • Shutter Release Cable
  • 17-70mm lens, which I used on its widest angle
  • My incredibly powerful torch – 180,000 lumens – which my hubby brought me for Christmas
  • Gloves, warm coat and next time I am taking my hat – it was cold!
  • Bulb mode, set to aperture F14
32 second exposure

32 second exposure

This was one of my first shots, there is an old concrete pier surrounded by the Solent that points towards the lights on the Isle Of Wight … I had not realised how bright the island lights were until I got there, that has a post at the end marking the pipe that runs underneath it and I thought it would make an interesting subject. I shined my torch at the end of the pier to focus my lens, turned it to manual focus and then estimated my shutter time – whilst doing so I moved the torch lots and was able to light up some of the concrete but the marker at the end was not bright enough.

Bulb mode - 79 sec exposure.

Bulb mode – 79 sec exposure.

I then decided that i would walk along the pier pointing the torch on the ground, try and light the post for a few seconds before walking back. On the left hand side of the pier you can see the shadows I created by walking away from the lens with the torch on, the light on the cross is perfect – but instead of turning the torch off at that point, I covered it on part of my way back as otherwise it was too dark to see properly with water either side, however I did not cover the torch enough.

Not to be out done I tried again – the great thing about digital camera is you can check in the field… but what I had not noticed at the time was that there was a boat moving along on the horizon … and the lens picked that are too … which kind of distracts from where I want the focus to be.

I was amazed in editing to discover my shutter time to be so similar – the time I took to walk along the pier.

Bulb - 78 second exposure

Bulb – 78 second exposure

I took the image into Photoshop this morning and edited the background lights – as it was on the tripod it was easy to copy the other image on top and select the lights on the horizon that I wanted most … I also then for fun added a colour overlay to see if I could create a different feel to the image … I was pleased with the result.

I entered this photo in the Southampton Camera Club March competition – and got 8/10 in the Intermediate class. The judge said that the zigzag light took us into the picture, it was remote, but he did not know what the remoteness was, he did not know why it was so dark at the edges .. personally I don’t think he understood the photo!

Composite image edited in Photoshop with a colour overlay of Light Painting

Composite image edited in Photoshop with a colour overlay of Light Painting

6 replies
    • Helen
      Helen says:

      Thanks John – I am going to experiment with colour filters on the light too soon… wonder where I got that idea from 🙂

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