Light Painting

Light painting is just that. The photographer uses various sized modified flashlights to splash light on the subject for the camera to pick up while sitting on a tripod with the shutter open. My first attempt at this took place May, 2013 with Photographer Jim Steed as my partner.

Jim had offered to show me light painting technique, which he’d been experimenting with (good enough to take second in a statewide Florida photo contest). He has several examples of his work on his website, which I encourage ytou to look over. Go here specifically for his light painting images.

We rolled down NC 80 toward Celo, NC until we reached what I call the “block store”, an empty square cinder-block building that formerly served as a country store. I had previously put a marker in my head as a “shoot-this” reminder every time I’d ever passed the place.

We used the time before sunset to move around with our tripods, looking for an angle that we hoped would give the best results. Once that was accomplished, we left the tripods set up in place for the rest of the evening. We both shot with a 24mm wide-amgle; mine was a tilt-shift version (which is so sharp and my favorite lens ever).

Jim brought his bag of flashlights. The units it held came in all sizes, from penlight to searchlight. All had been modified with “snoots”, which are tubes placed over the flashlight heads to focus the beam and prevent light spillage to the side. Such light loss could have ended up in the camera, spoiling the effect we wanted.

We took a couple of record shots in the daylight, then waited for the sun to set. As it got dark, we started painting the buildings with the large floods, leaving the camera shutters open for several minutes while we moved around flashing the buildings in a literal painting motion. It took several tries on each attempt as we would look at our results and see what could be improved on the next attempt.

Here is a series showing the change in the light. both natural and artificial, as the evening progressed.

Jim Steed and I joined up again later in the summer to light paint Dellinger's Mill. We were pleased with  our results. Here is my best personal effort from that night...

Dellinger's Mill

Dellinger's Mill

And in late October of 2013 I made these two images at Wildacres...