Light Painting (for Fill or Primary)

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 Post subject: Light Painting (for Fill or Primary)
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:35 pm 
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Sometimes you just don't have (or want) a flash or enough ambient light. If you have a tripod or even just suitable surface to sit the camera down on (whatever it is) - as long as it's stable... You can make even the slowest lens work or add a splash of light where needed. Shoot at a low ISO to keep both noise down and exposure time up. You want to have the shutter open long enough to "paint" your subject(s) with the light.

Using something like a flashlight, the painting is merely passing the light over your subject. Usually you want to do this evenly and across the entire subject (but not necessarily). The source of light can have a great impact on your final image. If it's specular (or "hard") or diffuse, if it's a regular incandescent bulb (warm) or LED (cool), the brightness, etc. You'll have to experiment to find what works best.

Consider the following two examples. The first had the camera sitting on a drinking glass. A flashlight was used to add just a touch of light on the cat. The second shot was a bit more extreme. Tripod mounted, a flashlight was used to increase light on the instrument, but done in such a way as to appear to be coming from the only light source in the room - the light just to the right. In both cases, there was neither enough ambient light nor enough light on the subject.

Not the best examples, nor a typical situation you might see light painting... But I've recently become fond of this technique, so I'll be posting more in this thread.

M8, ISO 640, Voigtländer 35/1.2 Aspherical Nokton, 4s @ f/22:
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M9, ISO 160, Noctilux-M 50mm f/0,95 ASPH, 16s @ f/16:
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 Post subject: Re: Light Painting (for Fill or Primary)
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:38 pm 
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Here's a really extreme case where there was NO light in the room at all! A flashlight was used (along with a napkin as a diffuser) to create all light. The only problem - there was a blue LED off to the left which contaminated the scene in this example. Nevertheless, a good reminder - even if a light is dim or far off - the exposure is cumulative. And these sorts of gotchas are all but invisible on the camera's LCD.

Anyway, the technique here was to slowly paint the instrument from the left, walk over and do it again for the right, maybe flash the ceiling once quickly and once more from below - straight-on. This creates an extremely even lighting:

M9, ISO 160, Noctilux-M 50mm f/0,95 ASPH, 4s @ f/4:
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 Post subject: Re: Light Painting (for Fill or Primary)
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:21 pm 
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I've always wanted to try this out in nature, but I never remember. I've seen some pretty amazing photos with selective light painting and 30 second + exposures

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 Post subject: Re: Light Painting (for Fill or Primary)
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:47 pm 
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Two examples:

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El amor del gíbaro II by ramirezaponte, on Flickr

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Sentado en la banca by ramirezaponte, on Flickr

The first one was a 15 second exposure at ISO 160 and F9.0. I light painted over the mural with a flashlight over the entire 15 second exposure.

The second one was a 15 second exposure at ISO 160 and F16. I light painted over the park bench for the first 7 or 8 seconds, turned off the flashlight, ran and sat on the bench, and turned the flashlight on me for the remaining exposure.

Both were shot on a Lumix G3 with a 25mm 1.4 DG Summilux (Pana/Leica). Tripod mounted, of course.

Cheers,

Antonio


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 Post subject: Re: Light Painting (for Fill or Primary)
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 6:26 pm 
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Two fantastic (and varied) examples of this technique, Antonio! :)

There's so much you can do with this technique... And it's fun! You can use your Rosco gels swatchbook to color the light too! I want to pick up a single LED flashlight and try some drawing and outlining with it... It's more precise light. I usually have a small double-AA Maglight in my bag, but the light pattern is rather broad and uneven.

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