We’ve created this dazzling image for Bonfire night. Its created using a technique called light writing or light drawing. By using a long exposure a trail of light is captured giving the effect you see here. We’ve used a sparkler to give it that Bonfire night feel.
What’s it all about?
Pablo Picasso’s experiments in light drawing in 1949 were fairly revolutionary and helped bring the medium to the attention of the art world and in turn the greater public. The work came about as a result of a collaboration with Gjon Mili of LIFE magazine who later published the photos.
Another interesting innovation came when French designer Alissa Logerot came up with the LED spray can. As an alternative to spray paint graffiti the bulb is charged by the kinetic energy generated when you shake the can. This coupled with the option of different caps for different effects gives the concept an authentic feel. Here are some of the results.
How do you create your own?
Firstly you’ll need a dark environment, if you want just the light trail to be visible then the darker the better. If its not completely dark you’ll get a blurred image of whoever is doing the light writing. This isn’t always a bad thing and having a figure can give the image context and create a striking ghost like effect. Next you need to have a play with your settings. The longer you set your exposure the more light you’ll be able to fit in. We used a 8 second exposure at F16, but half the fun is in experimenting so give it a go yourself.
After we were happy with the form we added smoke in photoshop to give the image a little more interest.
5 Top Tips for light drawings:
- The brighter and more defined the light you use the better – LEDs work well as they throw out a bright and concentrated light.
- Make sure you keep the end of the light in the same field of focus for a clean, crisp image.
- It can help if you use a visual marker for the edges of the frame so that you fill it to its entirety.
- If you’ve set your exposure to 8 seconds then you can count to 8 in your head whilst drawing your image to make sure you fit it all in.
- Try not to move too quickly as the image can blur or distort and to create thicker lines try going back over the same areas.
An example of light drawing graffiti using the surrounds to its advantage.
An exciting Batman inspired image, don’t worry if you can’t achive these kind of results, a lot of work will have gone into the post preduction on a shot like this!
If you would like more information on our photography service then please give us a call on 0113 272 0277 or drop into our Leeds based studio.