Get to the shot. Week Two. Painting with light

December 23, 2014  •  2 Comments

Get to the shot. Week Two. Painting with light

Ever since I started photography, I knew about the “painting with light” technique. But I’ve never really tried to do it. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a video tutorial on this subject, so I decided to give it a go and see if I can good results. Since this is something that needs some advance planning, I knew I wasn’t going to get it right the first time.

To start off, I needed to find a subject to photograph while there was still good light to get the composition right. Then I needed to actually try the “painting” once it’s dark enough. This takes more practice that what I thought.

For the first few attempts, I headed into the forest where it’s darker earlier in the afternoon. My first subject was a cabin in a camping area which I tough should be simple. Or at least a good subject. The result was complete failure. Every step I took with my light is visible. First lesson: don’t let the light catch any part of you body when you paint. Then there is the huge black area behind the cabin. The light I used was simply not strong enough the reach those trees. Time to try something simpler.

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The next two subjects was just a cluster of trees. This time the “painting” was okay but there are still too much black and the subject are not exactly eye catching.

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On my way home, I found this bulldozer broken down in the road. This time I managed to light it properly, including the tarmac underneath it. But the background had still too much black and not much else.

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The next two attempts went much better. The painting with light was fine and the composition not bad either.

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This one of the bridge over the river was my favourite until I noticed my ghostly figure in front of the bolder. Lesson learned: move slow when you "paint", but don't stand still when you are in front of the lens.

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To the golf course again. With the Aiguille du Midi in the background, I wanted to light the group of trees across the pond which should leave me with very little black in my photo. Naturally I will not light the mountains, but I was hopping the snow on them will be light enough with the long exposure I’ll be using. It worked, but I was zoomed in too close (it’s not easy to frame a shot through the viewfinder with so little light).

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Slightly zoomed out and minor adjustments to the framing, I got my favourite shot of the week. The green colours of the trees were surprising, but I kinda like that. Even Mont Blanc and it’s reflection is in the shot. 

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ISO 100, 7.6mm, f7.1, 30 sec

Let me know which one is your favourite. Do you have any advice on how to improve my "painting with light" photography. Please leave a comment. In the coming weeks I will try this "painting with light" technique more and post in my blog about it again.

 

Comments

2.A Traveller's View
@Somerset Wedding Girl
Now that you mention it, those trees does look spooky. In fact all of them does!! Your comment made me look at the photos through completely different eyes.
1.Somerset Wedding Girl(non-registered)
Those trees look spooky all lit up like that! An impressive scene!
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