Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Fun With Light Painting, Part II

Here, as promised, is my awesome planned light-painting shot. To heighten the suspense, I'll put my process before I post the photo.

As I stated before (I think), my maximum shutter speed is only 15 seconds. So for a project of this magnitude, I substituted sheer manpower in place of a bulb setting. For the center subject, I had two "painters" with lighters. For the left subject, there was one painter, and for the right subject, I ran over and started painting after firing the flash. Also, one painter was laying on the ground firing the laser everywhere. If you look carefully, the ambient light outlined his legs somewhat, as well as the faces of the two center subject painters.

Step 1: Pose three subjects.
Step 2: Herd painters out of the frame, and tell them to close their eyes to avoid temporary flash-induced blindness (which wastes precious seconds of exposure).
Step 3: Close eyes, open shutter, fire flash.
Step 4: Open eyes, shout "go" to painters.
Step 5: Painters and I sumble forwards in the pitch black darkness, trying not to step on feet, drums, or people.
Step 6: Use remaining 12 seconds or so to simultaneously paint instruments in thin air.

Step 7: Crowd around the LCD screen on the tripod to see the photo (after about 10 seconds of processing).
Step 8: Combine best elements from each exposure into one image in Photoshop.

Step 9: Try fruitlessly to eliminate noise from shooting at 800 ISO; long for a DSLR with a larger imaging sensor.
Step 10: Flickr. Blog.

Here it is, in all its glory:

click to enlarge, or see it on Flickr

Got any good light paintings? Post links in the comments!


  1. So very cool!! Looks like fun, and I can't wait to try some timed light shots! Great job, and great group effort! :)

  2. Great work, and the results are very cool. I bet you all had a lot of fun doing this. How many times did you try it?

    I enjoy your descriptions of the process. It's a big part of your blog.

    Happy Thanksgiving.


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