7 Days of Photography Experiments: Day 2 – Light Painting…


Often when I get a new piece of camera equipment or have a concept for an image I want to create I’ll do a quick test.

For most tests I need a subject or a volunteer. In the Klee household “good” volunteers are extremely difficult to come by. But I did find someone who always understands the concept I’m trying to do, has a great deal of patience and doesn’t mind embarrassing themselves. This volunteer would be ME.

Every couple of days for the next 2 weeks I’m going to post one of my tests (with me taking the photo as well as being the unfortunate volunteer). I’ll upload a photo or video and try to briefly explain what I was trying to accomplish with the test (other than look silly).

Day 2 – Light Painting

I drew some inspiration for experimenting with Light Painting from an article I read here about the techniques of photographer Denis Smith. He has some amazing work.

So I figured I would try my own little experiment in the garage/mad scientist lab to determine what the results might look like. Ultimately I have a concept in mind for a fashion-themed shoot combining studio flash and light painting so I try to learn the techniques well in advance (and make sure I understand the limitations).

Here are a few attempts:

Attempt 1: I think I was trying to write graffiti style. I’m plainly visible in the photo. Notice the color of the light (very yellow). Shutter speed was 13 seconds.
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Attempt 2: Changed to another type of light and the image looks significantly different. I also added a small flash to fire at the end of the exposure so I could see what the results might look like mixing the flash with ambient light. You don’t really notice I’m there until the flash goes off. Shutter speed was 15 seconds (this seems to be about the right length of time for this experiment).
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Attempt 3: Just because I’m a happy guy…
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Attempt 4: The last shot. It sort of has a shape and pattern but I’m still not sure what I was thinking. I was basically able to hide myself in the shot by using a bit more directional light so very little light fell on me.
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As soon as summer finally hits in Seattle (July 17th and still raining – WTH???) I’ll be able to actually try this outside at night.


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