[The date is tentative. I've mentioned in the past that I don't call an event on account of some rain, but in this case I'd rather not be out painting under falling cats, although a drizzle or mist is just fine, if not usable. So be wary of a date change. And now, on to the show...]
Light painting is a technique where we create drawings and designs with the use of light sources and long exposures. Here we are not capturing the emitted light of static objects but adding graphics with moving lights, ones that we control.
Above: Digital Design: Light Painting by Vancouver Film School
Vanier Park will offer us many opportunities for making light paintings. There are backgrounds to paint against like landscape, cityscape and some building planes. There are elements to paint on like sculptures, cluster of trees, a submarine. There is, especially, lots of space for us to perform. And since we'll be there before sunset, we'll have the opportunity to paint will all these during the goldening, the gloaming and the darkness.
This is our first light painting event, so we'll keep it simple and safe. We'll try out various simple light implements. We'll not use paraphernalia that create sparks or flames, so no burning of steel wool, etc. this time. With a bit of luck, we'll get into more advanced techniques in a future event.
Firstly, of course, take your time to choose your scene and subject. Then set the shutter speed to a long preset (or B/Bulb) and release the shutter. Now it's time to perform, so with light device step into the scene and paint, write, doodle, wash, wave, create mood lighting, romp. Don't worry about yourself so much, because the time lapse is long enough that you will either appear as a ghost or not at all. In any case, explore and experiment, have fun and progress.
Above: light-painting by Marko De la Light
Okay, so there is a little more finesse and detail than that (I'll add a few tips and trick a little later). Although I'll try to answer your questions, I highly recommend reading the following articles for more in depth and clear information. And, explore Flickr for more great examples.
Light Painting Part One – the Photography
Light Painting Tutorial Video - Fun with Photography
Painting with Light
Light Painting Photography
And for fun, freddiew : Light Warfare
What to bring
- It's preferable to have a camera with manual settings that includes "B/Bulb” so you can control the exposure and timing. Before you start the performance, you check and set the exposure to your liking, and lock it. Here we'll typically be using long exposures, 30s to many minutes. "B/Bulb" allows you to keep the shutter open as long as you wish. Manual (along with a tripod) also allows you to set the ISO very low which reduces color noise and increases exposure times.
- A sturdy tripod is quite useful and convenient because you can place it anywhere and can adjust the camera to your eye level. Of course you can prop your camera on some object. Bring a tripod. With very long exposures like these, weighing the tripod down with your bag can help steady it.
- A cable release with a locking mechanism (and a timer to keep track), or a remote trigger so you can be hands-free.
- Extra battery packs, because long exposures and the cold will eat up battery charge rather quickly.
- A flashlight (or a screen light on your mobile or a headlamp) so you can check camera settings and other equipment in your bag. But more importantly, to paint with; these are our brushes. Bring more than one to try different sized beams and intensities. Incandescents produce a yellowish light while LEDs can produce a range of color and are more powerful.
- Various light sources for painting, writing, doodling, gesturing, such as glow sticks in various colors (chemical ones that are single use or LED that are battery powered). You can pick up various light sources for a few bucks at your local variety store or a dollar store.
- A great thing to have with you is a partner in play, or misdemeanor, so you can take turns exposing or making elaborate paintings together. We'll buddy up.
Above: light painting round a tree by Aaron Sneddon
[Sparklers aren't much of a hazard; I'm trying to get more info on using them in parks.]
We'll explore Vanier Park. We'll meet in front of the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre (1100 Chestnut Street) at 16:00. We'll make introductions, ask questions, then set ourselves loose to have fun and photograph. And also to check the place out and set up. We'll end the Meetup officially at the sculpture "Gate to the Northwest Passage" at 18:30. After the event we'll meet at Las Margaritas Mexican Restaurant [masked]th Ave W, corner Maple St) at 19:00 we're we can share warmth, photos and conversations.
The function of the group is to learn and practice the techniques of photography. This involves learning photography not only from your guides but also by sharing knowledge with your group-mates. The intention is also to organize and get to know new people. The attendant size of the meets will be small so participants can have the opportunity to get to know all their group-mates and spend time with a guide. If you select to attend a meet and then cannot make it, please be courteous to others in the group and change your RSVP status as soon as possible to allow others who might be on the waiting list the chance to participate.
Please feel comfortable in posting your photographs and advising others; critical appraisal is helpful. What will also be appreciated are ratings and, especially, comments to individual meets and the group dynamic as a whole. This is important because it will ultimately add value to our meetings and improve our experience.
Light painting exercises
Here's some exercises to get us started.
A good way to learn is to buddy up, so one can paint while the other can control the trigger or give feedback. You can even collaborate with more people so two or more are painting a scene at the same time.
1- The simplest thing to try is making shapes, around you or another object. With a penlight, draw a circle in front of you, or a tree, or a wall, or even circumscribe yourself. Do it more than once to get a feel of the pace you need for different light implements. Then try a square and a triangle, or all three together.
2- Another challenge is writing a word. Find a cool background and write a word that expresses who you can be or what you're doing. Then you can try writing expressions.
3- A little more challenging then is drawing on your partners. Take turns drawing each other's outline in cool poses, or light them up by placing the light implement in various spots in front or behind and turning it on for a moment.
4- Now to paint. Pick some scenery, turn towards your background and use it like a canvas. Fill in areas by making strokes with the light tool or draw new things on it. You might have to move along a larger space but your partner should help guide you.
5- Be creative. Whatever you bring with you and decide to use, whether a penlights, small flashlights, little LED lights, glow sticks (they're so-so), wands, finger lights, xmas lights, flash, strobe, sparklers, etc., cut loose, experiment and connect with your imagination to create fascinating images, and have fun.
Here's a couple of photos to get you more enthusiastic that Sharon and I took a couple nights ago. So yes, it was so much fun!