You might have seen it a few times already, but probably not under its correct name… We are talking about light painting, or also called light drawing. Most of us are familiar with the term and photo technique ‘long exposure’ (longer exposure time). Light painting is a form of long exposure, but brings it to the next level whilst creating an art piece that looks like it has been drawn even though it was taken with a camera.
We all have seen those stunning images of streets where streetlights or headlights on cars become trails and melt together, creating something special without seeing the actual vehicle. This unique effect in cityscape images can be created while shooting at night or in low light with longer exposure times. Of course, this is nothing new, but creating and sketching scenes and photographs specifically to use the unique effect of long exposure to create something similar to a painting is referred to as “light painting”. Photographers are specifically looking for a moving light source such as a candle, flashlight, LED lights or another light source, aiming to alter an image while using long exposure. Thus, light-painters not only take the picture as-is instead add another element by highlighting a subject, creating trails of light, flashes, and other special elements like these.
Walking through the streets of Paris, Barcelona, Rome or just taking a stroll along the promenade of Dubrovnik, Croatia. Traveling through different countries, cities, and cultures is probably something we all love. Slowly our lives are turning back to a more routine and less restrictive daily life. Thus also travel becomes possible again. Spring season is in full swing too and many people are ready to travel to different locations and countries again to admire and capture special sceneries. To get pleasing results, we have some helpful tips to make your memories unforgettable.
People are the heart of any culture, so when you journey to other countries or cities, you will find travel gold in their faces and the way they live. Street portraits and candids are two different types to capture those moments. While shooting a candid, your subject is likely to be unaware, or at least unconcerned, of your presence. Portraits are more likely to be posed, and will perhaps include eye contact, with the subject fully aware they’re being photographed. Consequently, some tricks are important to keep in mind…
Stargazers take note: A comet from the outer reaches of the Solar System, nicknamed Neowise, is providing a spectacular show. It’s definitely a special heavenly spectacle, because it passes by Earth so closely, it’s visible to the naked eye. Neowise (aka C/2020 F3 NEOWISE) won’t be back for another 6,800 years. It will reach its closest point to Earth on 23 July, at a distance of just over 100 million km. The comet can be spotted across the northern hemisphere, approximately one hour after sunset and before sunrise. Neowise is visible when the sky is dark enough to show it’s bright tail and makes for a special treat for astrophotographers. So, here are a few basic tips for photographing the comet successfully.
First of all, you have to ask yourself when and where to set up the shooting location. Your chances of spotting it are better, the closer the comet is to earth – which is the case between 15 – 25 July. You can easily track where the comet is for your location by using star-tracking and night sky apps. The chance of seeing it in the early evening improves – so long as the weather co-operates and the sky is nice and clear. That’s why checking the weather before heading out is crucial to a good photograph of the comet. After checking the right timing, and where to see Neowise, pick an elevated spot, away from light sources. The further away from city lights the better.
As essential as the camera itself, is a tripod sturdy enough to take the weight of your gear and hold it still for up to 30 seconds.
Beyond that, you really just need a lens with a focal length of at least 100mm, though obviously the longer your lens, the more the movement of night sky objects will be magnified and the better your shot will be. Because you will be shooting in the dark (obviously!), you should shoot with a fast lens.
For focusing at night, you will want to switch your camera over to manual focus. Manually adjust the focus ring until you have a sharp pinpoint of light. In manual mode, we’ll need three things: a wide aperture; long shutter speed; and high ISO. This maximises brightness when shooting in the dark. Set your aperture to maximum because you want to let in as much light as possible. Then, you need to use a suitable exposure time to ensure you get a sharp picture of Neowise. If you’re not sure how long to expose for, check the ‘500 Rule’ which suggests you take 500 and divide it by the focal length (in full frame terms) of your lens to give you the longest exposure you can use before stars begin to trail. Because we are limited to relatively short exposure times, we need to bump up the ISO considerably. Expect to shoot at ISO 1,000 or more depending on how dark the sky is and the maximum aperture value of your lens. Images of the night sky need to be edited slightly differently from daytime images, so make sure you shoot RAW so you can pull out more detail and colour in your final image.
Now, you may also want to use an external shutter release remote, turn on exposure delay mode, or use a self-timer mode to avoid camera vibration during the exposure.
Astrophotography takes patience and technical skill, but the results are worth the effort. We hope this article helps you to capture Neowise, this rare and incredible spectacle in the coming days. So for now, we wish you clear skies!
I remember in my film days having great fun taking shots and resetting the shutter to take another picture to overlay on the first. But in truth this technique was a little hit and miss and rarely resulted in any great images. Thankfully camera manufacturers, including Fujifilm, have come to the rescue and introduced Multiple Exposure modes into their camera bodies.
This is a super feature with endless possibilities to create truly unique and inspiring images in camera without the need to use any post processing. If you’ve not tried this yet here is a short guide to help you on your way. Read More