Artistry in the Dark

 
With light painting, you can create imaginary characters around various simple objects to convey a funny story. Exoposure: 53.6sec at f/5.6 (ISO 200). Photograph/Puneet Dembla

With light painting, you can create imaginary characters around various simple objects to convey a funny story. Exoposure: 53.6sec at f/5.6 (ISO 200). Photograph/Puneet Dembla

Even if drawing is not your forte, Chandni Gajria tells you to bring out the artist in you. Pickup a torch and start painting out your imagination.

You might have seen pictures with light streaks around a person or an object. This is not magic but in fact, is a technique called light painting. However, before you go ahead, make sure you have all these things in place—a camera with manual controls, a tripod, a torch or colourful glow lights and a completely darkened room or an outdoor location with less or no ambient light.

The light painting can itself be a subject. You need not always paint around a subject. Exposure: 4.2sec at f/14 (ISO 200). Photograph/Puneet Dembla

The light painting can itself be a subject. You need not always paint around a subject. Exposure: 4.2sec at f/14 (ISO 200). Photograph/Puneet Dembla

The Technique While the lights are switched on, mount your camera on a tripod and focus on the subject using AF. Then, switch to manual focus so that the camera does not readjust the focus in the dark while making the picture. If it is too dark outdoors, shine a torch onto the subject. You can even ask them to hold their cell phone near their eye, so that the camera can detect focus easily. You can start making pictures between 2sec to 30sec of exposure. Once you press the shutter, use colurful lights to paint around a subject. Adjust the shutterspeed if you need more time to light paint. Writing out a simple word may take you 5–10 seconds. Although, a complicated design or painting an entire tree and branches may take you over 10–20 seconds. Quick Tip Ask a friend to assist you with the light painting technique. They can either light paint for you or stand and guard the camera outdoors.

This article originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of Better Photography.

Tags: Shooting Technique, Chandni Gajria, light painting, november 2012