Light painting photography. What it is and why I like it.

Christmas holidays are gone, but I hope you have some sparklers left because light painting is perfect during winter and dark afternoons.

Light painting auguriLight painting stella di Natale What is light painting photography? Light painting or drawing consists in drawing with light. Taking a good light painting photograph isn’t so easy: it takes time and patience, but the result will surely be catchy. You will need: a night or completely dark set, a tripod, a long exposure and a light source in order to move it in front of the photographic camera as you wish or to illuminate a subject. Light painting also means photographs taken with a long exposure to a fixed light source with a moving camera.
First light painting experiments are dated in the period between the end of ‘800 century and the beginning of ‘900 of the past millennium, but the most famous images are the ones taken by Man Ray and the photographer Gjon Mili with Pablo Picasso as subject.
light-painting-picasso-02The creative possibilities of a light painting are limitless, it just requires to use a light source or the photographic camera as a paint brush in the space during a long exposure.
What are the settings I suggest to take a good light painting photograph?
– keep a low sensibility (about 200 ISO);
– keep the diaphragm quite closed (between f8 and f16) for a good depth of field;
– extend a lot the exposure time.
As follows, I upload a complex photograph that I took recently. It is a HDR light painting.

Light trails paintingI chose the frame, closed the diaphragm and set low ISO. This photograph is the addiction of different long exposures (between 5 and 30 seconds).
This kind of photographs is surely the result of a high technical knowledge, more than the photographer’s artistic experimentation itself.

And what about you? Have you already tried a light painting experiment?

(photo credit: LIFE)

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