Monday, 3 March 2014

Fun with a torch and long exposures - Kim Ayres

While the longer nights of winter are still with us, leaving less daylight time for photography, when the weather isn't too bad other options to play outside are still available.

I'd been out creating a photo of my friend and poet, Mark Williams, to fit with a poem of his. On the way home from the shoot it was a cold, clear night and I thought I’d stop and try photographing the stars. I didn’t have much success in capturing anything interesting, but while the camera was out, I figured we could have a go at a bit of light painting.

With the camera sitting on a tripod, I asked Mark to stand as still as he could and set the timer for 30 seconds. After clicking the shutter release, I then moved the torch around the edges of his body – slowly up one leg and arm, over his head and back down the other side. Because the exposure is so long, and I was moving, my presence wasn’t captured, although if you look closely, you’ll see a couple of dark shadows either side of him, which was caused by me standing still for a few seconds while I moved the torch.

With the glow of the town on the horizon and the stars in the sky (you can see Orion’s belt just up and to the right of his head if you look carefully) behind him, it gives a slightly sci-fi feel to the image, like he’s just landed.

We did it a few times, and this was the best one. We might have done a few more, but by then our fingers and toes were going numb, so we packed up, climbed back in the car and set the heater on full blast.

But you don't have to wait for a cold clear night to try out this kind of thing - just close the curtains and switch the light out to try some light painting around the living room, kitchen or anywhere else indoors.

Kim Ayres

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