Lightpainting - Creating our own fireworks!
My first entry back into the world of photography last night was filled with beginners errors, yet, despite of them, I was able to produce my first blog entry for the 2019-365-challenge.
First, I realized a little too late (the day of the shooting and when no stores were open) that for the long exposure which was necessary I didn't have a cable for remote shutter release for my new digital mirrorless camera.
But wait... there's an app for that! celebrate!! Coming from analog photography it was a very weird experience for me to use 2 "cameras" at the exact same time for the same motive (the smartphone with the app and the digital camera).
Second, I had forgotten to take my reading glasses with me to the shooting location.
It was very dark and the shutter speed settings were too small for me to read on the display. I couldn't tell if it was 1/20 of a second or 20 seconds and thus shot 25 very black photos until I figured it out based on the sound of the shutter and the immediate display of the image in the app - even without glasses I could see as I was getting closer and closer to the result I was looking for: celebrate!
With analog photography, you only know about a week later whether your pictures turned out. One small mistake is expensive in analog photography - not only did you waste money on film and print development, you also wasted your time because you couldn't correct your mistake at the time it was happening. Digital photography means no more tears. celebrate!
Getting the shot, Lessons Learned, Recommendations
Chose an all concrete environment on a rainy day to make sure not to start a fire.
Not wearing reflective clothing for obvious reasons, we needed to be sure it was safe to set up the tripod in the middle of the road. I chose 23:30 (11:30 pm) on December 31st for 2 reasons: no traffic on the small road under the bridge and no lighting interference from headlights of the cars on the highway above.
There's basically no one travelling right before midnight on new year's eve, so that worked out very well.
If you want to try lightpainting, my recommendations:
- Very fine steel wool (gauge 0000) without any chemicals added you can get it at any hardware store
- Long-necked gas fireplace lighter to ignite the wool (don't use a regular lighter, you'll burn your fingers)
- All-metal egg beater
- Heat-resistance rope somewhere between 50 cm - 1 meter in length
- Person swinging should wear gloves to avoid rope burn
- Person swinging should move around to avoid appearing in the picture
- Person swinging should really listen to the photographer that all-black means all black even if its his favorite sports team, the logo in white will show up...