Light Painting on the Steps

2011

At the beginning of the year, I had a strange feeling that this year would prove to be an interesting one. So far, it seems, my intuition has proven correct. Catastrophic floods in Australia, unrest in the Middle East, a devastating earthquake in New Zealand, and now the potential for a triple tragedy in Japan of the largest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history followed by a devastating tsunami, and the possibility of TWO nuclear plant meltdowns. Jeesh, and it’s only March. Of course every year has its share of natural disasters and crazy political events so it’s entirely possible I’m over-dramatizing. I guess we’ll find out as we see how the rest of the year plays out.

Today’s Photo

Speaking of drama, an interesting technique for adding some excitement and drama to your nighttime photos is known as light painting. This technique uses long exposures and a secondary light source, such as a flashlight, to ‘paint’ light onto objects or to create trails of light through an image. You can use different color gels to create colorful effects. Exposures can range anywhere from seconds to several minutes, with longer exposures allowing for more creative lighting. In this example, I used a hand-held flash to add light to the specific areas of the photo which I wanted to highlight. I ran around manually firing the flash several times during the 30 second exposure. In the end, 30 seconds was more than enough time for what I did here, although it took a bit of trial and error to find the right balance of flash power and the number of times to pop the flash in order to evenly light the scene the way I wanted. But that’s part of the fun.

Beyond the Steps

Sydney as seen from Bradley's Head.

I intended to include a ‘before’ image with this to show how the light painting improved the image but internet issues are preventing me from doing so.

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