Light Painting

The Royal Photographic Society have continued to run their excellent courses even during the lockdown restrictions. But, of course, at the moment they are being held virtually. This is actually a benefit to me as I live well away from the usual course locations. The most recent course that I have attended is titled “Painting with Light”.

The course syllabus looks at different ways in which you can use photography to create an image in a controlled way using an artificial light source. We’ve all been given free rein to explore different aspects of light painting. I’ve been experimenting with pendulums … the image above is a simple pendulum with one light source while the one here is a compound pendulum with three light sources attached.

I like the abstract images that they produce, they remind me of those deep-sea creatures that you see on wildlife programs on television.

This image is a shot of the compound pendulum from below. You can see the complex paths taken by the three light sources as they move.

To take the picture I set my camera to manual focus, the shutter speed was 30 seconds and the aperture was f/22, with an ISO of 100. These settings meant that the background was black … all you can see is the light trail. The light source is a torch with an acrylic rod attached (think of a home made light sabre and you’re almost there) suspended from my ceiling by a piece of string. The compound pendulum is actually two coat hangers. One hanger holds a torch and a second hanger, the second hanger holds two more torches. All the hangers and torches can swing freely.

It was actually a lot of fun and doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment. Of course, if you want to buy expensive equipment …

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