Painting with light – Project 52 #29

At one of our recent Swinford camera club meetings we had a hands on workshop, painting with light. One type of photography that is quite difficult to master at first is long exposures at night. The secret to long nighttime exposures is trial and error and plenty of practice to get the shot right!

painting with light

Photo: f/22, 30 sec, ISO-100, @20 mm.

The photo above was quite difficult to get right and it took us a few attempts to nail it. Having five people in the shot made it slightly more difficult too. Camera was mounted on a tripod, manual focus before the lights were switched of. The three subjects in the middle had to sit completely still or else they would show motion blur. The subject at the back was then to move three times to his left, one step at a time. Another club member uses a torch to illuminate each subject for approx 4 seconds.

Photo sequence as follows, mirror locked up on the camera and on 2 second timer (to prevent shake when firing the shutter). Lights off, press shutter, Subject at back lit with torch for 4 seconds starting at left. Subject middle left lit for 4 seconds while subject at back takes a step to the right (his left!). Then subject at back in new position is lit for 4 seconds and then subject in the middle of the middle row is lit for 4 seconds and so on. Towards the end of the exposure I enter the front of frame and I’m lit up for the remainder of the shot.

Great credit has to be given to the three subjects in the middle, as even the slightest movement on their part would have ruined the shot.

Michael Maye
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