An adventure in lightpainting

February 17, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Inspired by a variety of articles I've read on the subject and especially by the training video by David Black on Kelby Training, last week I decided to give lightpainting a go.  In addition to the normal gear - tripod, camera, wide-angle lens - I brought a head torch (so that I could have both hands free to set up) and a rechargeable LED flashlight.  I also brought a flask of coffee and warm clothes.  A Tweet from Aurora Watch had alerted me to the possibility of the Northern Lights being visible so I headed to Ballintoy harbour and to a place where the sea at high tide comes flooding through the rocks, creating a pool of water and foam.

It was fun!  I set the delay on the camera so that I could release the shutter and then move well to the right before splashing the light from the torch over the water and the rocks.  (I set up on the concrete so that I didn't accidentally trip in the dark.)  I set the ISO to 1600, aperture to f4 (the widest on my wide-angle zoom) and shutter speed to 30 seconds - anything longer would have turned the stars into mini star trails.  After that it was guess work - working out how much torch light to use on the scene.  that wasn't the only tricky bit - focussing in the dark was virtually impossible so I set the focus manually to just shy of infinity and left it there.  The next challenge was the wind which gusted a bit and caused a bit of camera movement, enough to spoil about half of the shots.  And the final challenge was the changing weather: about 15 minutes after I had set up the clouds swept in from the north and it began to rain - ensuring I had a good night's sleep after all!

Here are a couple of the shots I made before the rain closed in.


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