Using a Slow Shutter Speed to Paint with Light
Another technique which uses a slow shutter speed is painting with light. This is not
a new technique and in fact it was the photographer Gjon Mili and the painter Pablo Picasso
who first experimented with the idea back as 1949.
Mili visited Picasso in France in 1949 and showed the painter his photos of
ice skaters moving across ice at night. The skaters had lights attached to their skates and were creating interesting patterns in
the dark. These photos, known as the "light drawing" series, gave Picasso the idea of making
his own light drawings using a hand-held flash-light.
Sparklers (Photo by
Fujifilm FinePix S5700, 4 secs, f/3.5, ISO 64, focal length 6.3 mm
Since then, many photographers have
made their own experiments with all sorts of different light sources, including fireworks as
you can see in the shot above. This photographer used a 4 second exposure, and his subject
is holding sparklers. Of course, with
an exposure that slow your subject needs to keep their body fairly still plus the
hands need to move in fairly regular circles. You may not get it quite right first time but you know
how the old saying goes - practise, practise, practise!
Paris Catacombs (Photo by
J.M.Schomburg) - Camera Data Unknown
One last shot to inspire you. This photo was done in the Paris Catacombs which are
unfortunately now closed to the public due to vandalism. I managed to visit it before
it was closed up, and believe me, t's a spooky place to visit, full of ancient skulls
and bones. I absolutely love this image as I think the photographer
has captured the spooky atmosphere really well AND managed to be creative with his
light painting technique although there is no camera data available so we don't know the
actual shutter speed he used.
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