Light Painting Technique

Last year I came across the images of the pho­tog­ra­ph­er Harold Ross, and he cap­tured my atten­tion by the inten­si­ty of his fine art images. His process is very intrigu­ing, as he does “light paint­ing”, but not in the way I knew (e.g. swing­ing steel wool). He uses a soft dif­fused light source to illu­mi­nate the sub­ject in com­plete dark­ness, with a long expo­sure giv­ing enough time to light­en up the impor­tant parts. The images have a dis­tinct­ly painter­ly feel to it.

Image of an egg taken by using the light painting technique

So how does it work?

I can only tell you how I did it, but not how Harold Ross does it, as I didn’t attend his work­shop so far. And if I would know, I would not give you more details than what I can learn from his web­site, as it is his process, for him to teach in his workshops.

  1. I tried to repli­cate the light dif­fu­sor as described here:

    Flashlight Adapter / Light diffusor

  2. When paint­ing with light, make sure you under­stand how unique types of light qual­i­ty and dis­tance and appli­ca­tion change the result. Be care­ful when direct­ing the light, it is easy to point it towards the cam­era, or acci­den­tal­ly touch the sub­ject. Plan what you want to do before press­ing the shut­ter button.
  3. Start a long expo­sure for your cam­era and shoot a series of images with dif­fer­ent parts of your sub­ject illu­mi­nat­ed accord­ing to your plan.
  4. Com­pose the images in Adobe Pho­to­shop or any oth­er lay­er-enabled images pro­cess­ing pro­gram of your choice if need­ed. The image of the egg was just one source image, but I had oth­er sub­jects where I had to com­bine sev­er­al images.
Global Photo Club

Have fun with exper­i­ments in the dark! And thanks for reading!

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