Introduction – Light Painting and Effects
Friday Nov 4 we joined Ron Fearon for a practice session with light painting. Ron has been doing this for years and has lots of experience, several devices to use to generate the light painting effects, and “statues” to anchor the photos.
Equipment – Preparation
As Ron had suggested everyone arrived in dark clothes so if you were in the frame painting, you should not show up in the photo. We all had tripods, DSLRs which we could set to bulb mode with manual focus and wide focal length lenses. Cameras were set to low ISO (about 100), closed aperture (f11 – f20) since there was some ambient neighbourhood lights, and bulb mode for the exposure. Remote triggers were used on some shots.
We all also had flashlights (different types) to paint the statues.
Ron showed how to make simple, inexpensive light painting tools with small neon tubes, LED strings, double AA battery packs taped onto boards, hoops, and bicycle wheels.
Activity – What to do
For the first few shots Ron spun the hoops and light boards while we tested and tweaked our camera setups. He showed how to make the “half dome” effect on his deck. All simple lighting effects that can be used to create more complex compositions.
We moved on to shooting longer exposures painting “statues” first with flashlights and then painting more light effects behind and in front of the statues all in the same exposure.
Ron’s Pixelstick brought some magic to the show with Armadillos, Whales, Lions and other creatures. Some sequences took a few tries to get the light painting, timing and placement correct. Sometimes we accidentally painted Ron into the photos and had to do-over. But Ron is a pretty patient guy and it was a warm night.
As far as post processing goes I did the usual with adjustments in LR for the camera lens, leveling the images, and cropping the images, and removing some spots of unwanted light. Because of the variability of the light painting sometimes the painting effects extend out of the frame. Also since we sometimes painted Ron into the picture by accident I had to lower the exposure around the object with a brush. Since I used long exposure noise reduction in the camera, I didn’t make any changes later. Generally contrast, saturation and vividness were increased to suit.
Thank you to Ron Fearon for his efforts and hospitality putting this on and spending time with us to teach us some of what he has learned over the years. It was a fun night out learning new techniques for lighting and creating lighting effects.