Playing with Fire and Light

A couple of weeks ago, a few friends of mine arranged a night photo shoot to have some fun with light painting and long exposure shots. We headed to this abandoned building in the middle of nowhere and a brave volunteer worked his magic with just some steel wool stuffed in a whisk and swung on a chain. Here’s what I got. I loved the results and can’t wait to do some more of this.







Here’s something I tried while I was playing around with the 2 axis head on the tripod. I set the exposure to around 10 seconds and then moved the camera on X and Y axis while focused on a string of street lights. This might make a good wallpaper for my mobile phone.




There was this structure that I lit up using a flashlight and managed to get the stars in the shot as well. The yellow haze is light reflected off clouds from the street lights and just above that the stars are visible.


Towards the end of the session we played around with one of those LED key-chains and got the following samples.




While I was editing the pictures I remembered that I’d taken some similar pictures of the Fire Dancers at this year’s Sand Sculpture expo so I figured those would fit into the theme of this post. So here are some shots from the event.

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Fire dancers at Remal Festival 2014

Light writing with the Playstation Move

A couple of weeks ago I was at a friend’s place messing about on his PS3 and it struck me that the Move controller is a good candidate as a light writing tool. I asked him to draw some shapes and try to write his initials using the device and we got some really crazy results. All the shots were handheld (since I didn’t take my tripod along with me) but I think they’re decent enough. You can see my previous post [here] to see some of the possibilities of Light Painting or Light Writing.

Shooting light beams

A lot of people create light beams in Photoshop for their action figure shots but then there are some others who want the real deal. I’ve been following the work of various photographers in the Gunpla and Action Figure groups to learn how they achieve this effect and now I’ve done it myself !

You need
1. Focused LED light
2. Candle light or tea light

For this to work, there should be only two sources of light during the shoot or you wont get a good effect. Position your action figure the way you want it and setup the tripod so that its in your range of view. Now Set the Shutter speed to anywhere from 10 to 15 seconds while in shutter priority mode.

Set the camera to go off on timer and then bring the LED to the starting position of the beam and when the shutter opens gently draw along the imaginary light path. When you complete that then you need to fill in the light using your candle or tea light. Make a few passes to highlight the model or create shadows. Thats it ! All this in 10-15 seconds.

Heres what it should look like finally.

SD firing
Gundam Wing Chest Beam


Lightwriting is the art of creating abstract designs or shapes with light. Its done using a very slow shutter speed like 10 seconds or more and this creates a stream of light across the frame. My friends and I experimented with this technique and this is what we came up with..

This is how you do it;
1. setup your camera on the tripod at eye level and focus on the subject
2. use the Shutter priority mode and use shutter duration of 10 seconds or more
3. you can use the remote to release the shutter or set the timer so that there’s minimal blur
4. use a flashlight or portable light source and draw shapes in the air.