Saturday, 16 March 2013

Light writing

I've loved looking at long exposure photography for as long as I can remember, so having got my hands on a good tripod I realised this was the perfect opportunity to have a go at it myself. I probably could've done it before with my old tripod but my new one gives me more height and better adjustment options.

It was something that I understood in theory, but had never really played with myself. The way I understood it was that you basically just put your camera somewhere steady, turned out the lights, grabbed a torch and went wild while your camera took ten seconds to take the photo.

The first thing I learned was that you have to make sure that all the lights are turned out, otherwise this happens:

I turned the living room light off but left the stair light on, which kind of does create a cool effect. I'm trying to think of a way that I can play with that I can make this actually work for me. So far I've not come up with anything, but I'm sure I'll think of something.

So, once I turned the light out, I was able to do this:

I discovered that if you turned the torch off in between each letter, you don't end up with them being all joined together. Of course, if you're wanting to write you have to either write the letters back to front while you're facing the camera; you could write them the right way round and flip the image as well, but that didn't occur to me until after I'd spent ages carefully writing them backwards.

I only edited these pictures slightly, just to make sure that the background was totally dark (in some there was a bit of reflection from the hi-fi unit I was standing next to). By the time I was writing my name I was beginning to get a better idea of where the letters were in relation to each other in the air in front of me.

And of course, what needed to be done then was to search the house for other interesting torches and lights that I could play with. This is my favourite:

That's done with the special flashing light that we got for Tara so that she would show up when we take her for walks on the estate in the dark. It flashes red and blue which made that pretty pattern. I had good fun playing with different shapes and waving them around all over the place.

It's a good effect and I've already got a few ideas that I'd like to play around with. It's basically the same idea as those funky photos you see of roads with lines of light zooming along them, or ferris wheels which are just big circles of light. Living on a quiet rural estate I don't get many opportunities to take those sorts of photos, but I'm just itching to try it.

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Let me know what you think. :-)