Painting With Light

Low-light photography requires an exposure time long enough for the little available light to gradually makes its way into the camera sensor. Any bright light sources moving through such a shot are going to leave an imprint on the exposure as if painting onto the photo with a brush. The light-source can be absolutely anything that generates bright light. Sparklers, torches (with or without coloured gels), candles, glow-sticks, even high-powered lasers as seen above.


A simple sparkler transforms subterranean graffiti

I would describe light-painting as any photography where the light becomes the focus of the piece as opposed to the physical content of the frame. Having said that, there is always an interplay between the two and you can use coloured light to ‘paint’ an object in shot or throw sparks which will bounce off nearby walls. Have fun with it and get creative, I say.

light painting with sparks at the mausoleum.


Mix and match – Warm candle-lit foreground and an LED torch lighting the back of the tunnel with a cool blue beam

Tunnel Lights_8359079227_l

Tea-lights are light and inexpensive light-toys to bring with you. I always bring a few just in case when I venture down into tunnels as they really help to convey distance.


A simple focused torch beam can pick out details in a scene and bolster contrast



Wool-spinning in stereo


Work with your surroundings


Thanks – Hope you enjoyed the post. Feel free to link to your own light-painting shots in the comments.



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