Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Light Painting in the Backyard

Although it's been the third least snowiest December on record in central Indiana, I think I could count the number of clear nights on one hand. When the skies aren't cooperating, I get a little stir crazy - so I had to battle my friend Luke in the backyard using my epic lightning powers!

lightning iphone light painting power
Light painting using SlowShutter Cam app for iPhone, merged and adjusted in Photoshop

FOCUS: To focus the image, have the subject stand in the spot where they will be during the photo and shine the light on themselves - try lighting up the face and clothes, just enough to give the photographer a target. Lock the focus on the subject when they are bright enough to autofocus.

LIGHT THE SUBJECT: Now start the photo with a 3 second delay and run over to the subject. First establish them in the image by shining the light away from the camera toward the subject - simulating a flash essentially. Paint their body with light for a few seconds.

DRAW WITH LIGHT: Now with the flashlight aiming toward the camera, paint the lines you want to show up. We used a simple white LED keychain for these.

I realized when I upgraded my iPhone, I also made my Glif mount for the iPhone 5 less useful - seen here with my new iPhone 6 (in a case) rubber banded to it to hold it in place... Apparently they make a new Glif iPhone tripod adapter mount that is more universal and accommodates the curved edges of the new iPhone 6.


Ok so here is what the photos look like straight out of the iPhone using Slow Shutter Cam app as the camera...

lightning iphone light painting power
Image straight from iPhone with brightness adjustment in Snapseed app

shoot energy from hands light painting
Image straight from iPhone, taken with Slow Shutter Cam app in light trail mode
I also tried light painting with my Canon T5i. I made the image below by stacking several frames in Photoshop and using blend mode Lighten to only incorporate the lightest parts from each image. I painted the birch trees and step stones with a white LED.

I think it looks a little like lightning! I really like the blue glowing energy in this image!

light painting highlight trees and stones
Stack of 5 images, each at f/7.1, 18mm, ISO 400, 16 sec

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