As promised yesterday, below are just a few of the results from my first light painting experience. The setup is EASY! All you need is a dark room (I used the garage), a flashlight, and a rope.
To support my camera, I used my Joby Gorillapod for DSLRs with the ball head and it worked great. I had my mini Maglite flashlight dangling from the ceiling about 6′ from the ground and my 5D was positioned on the ground looking up at the flashlight. I kept the lights on in the garage and focused the camera on the light so I would be focusing in the general area of the light.
I tried a bunch of different lenses but I think the best results came from my 17-40L. ISO was set at 100 the entire time to reduce noise in the black areas. I kept the aperture around f8-f10 but my shutter speed varied from 5″ to 20″. If you are just swinging the light around, the longer shutter speeds work better (15″-20″). If you are going to twist up the rope and let it spin like a top, you are better off with shorter shutter speeds (5″-10″).
Two big important settings that most people forget when shooting night or long exposures are mirror lockup and a timed delay. These GREATLY reduce any blurring that could occur from camera shake. If you don’t know how to set your camera for mirror lockup, check your manual…it’s usually under a custom function setting. Another not so vital setting but I like using is switching my dedicated exposure lock button to a dedicated focus button. This allows you to focus and meter at two different places but it also allows you to focus then fire the shutter at a later time. If you focus and fire the shutter with the shutter button when trying this, you may end up having your lens search around for something to focus on which defeats the purpose of you “pre-focusing”. If you want to keep your shutter button as the focus, exposure, and shutter trigger, then I suggest using manual focusing for this type of project.
Below are a few of the images from this experiment. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the results.
Be sure to check back tomorrow as I will post my favorites from this shoot.