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Thread: Lightpainting

  1. #1

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    Lightpainting

    Anyone have any experience regarding lightpainting landscapes at night...what works and what doesn't?
    Do ya use the small LED flashlights or the larger softer lantern style flashlights.
    The scene I have in mind is the far shore of a pond about 100 yards distant with the appropriate fall colors...want to include reflections.

  2. #2

    Re: Lightpainting

    I have not tried it yet but here are some sites to help get you started. Hope to see your attempts at it soon. Also google "light painting in photography" and it will give you plenty to learn from.

    http://www.nikonusa.com/en/Learn-And...-painting.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK_tBOT8xDc

    The really good ones use different levels of powered lights to get the results they want.

  3. #3
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    Re: Lightpainting

    I've done a bit. Anything will work if it is strong enough to cast sufficient light at that distance, but the effects depend on the type of lighting. LED lighting is relatively cold, while halogen is a lot warmer/yellower. Some of the small LEDs are now quite powerful, but I suspect 100 yds will require something fairly large.

  4. #4
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    Re: Lightpainting

    decent LEDs (of the right type, most generic ones are waaay cool due to them being cheaper) are fine for light painting in my experience since you're often gelling sources anyway and often odd colours the spikey spectra doesn't affect things too much. For accuracy blackbody sources are still better for most light painting it's not a big must unless you're talking more strobist work where you actually mean heavily lit but natural looking shots.

    I have used 2 things, gelled speedlights and gelled LED flashlights/torches. The LEDs I use are decentish CRI to start with BUT spectra will still be spikey, to be precise T6 4C tint bin cree xm-l's driven at between 2.8A to 3.5A although get bit cooler on the high end. I use 7135 regulators on them, nanjg ones, and add more chips such as these as needed depending on body they are in/cooling. The linear regulators (boards designed on them not chips I mean) you can get multimode and solder on/off modes you need. I like 10% / 30% / 100% for varying the light output power and is easy enough for anyone to do with steady hand.

    For the speedlights I sometimes put in place and pop with radio triggers but more often walk through the shot on long timer/bulb and pop 1 or more times with the "test" button manually. Most including well know guys such as Troy Paiva seem to go with torch/strobe and do it handheld I've noticed, Troy does less with strobe and more torch these days he said in one of more recent interviews. If you find it's too cool then it's probably LED choice as suitable bins are good enough for video lights but although there are some photo ones they are still not good enough for action freezing and flash tubes do it cheaper efficiently.

    The exact scene depends on what you're after and what exactly you're painting and what colours. Also balancing with the ambient means gel choice can be funny depending on dark side of twilight where sun can still play a part to very late night/early hours where moon and ambient artificial are main lights.
    Last edited by Davey; 28th September 2013 at 02:31 PM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Lightpainting

    as for distance a strobe on a radio trigger is good way to go, reasonable distances I manage with a 45mm deep reflector and a pocket sized 22mm single 18650 light (sometimes reflector sometimes 30degree-ish TIR optic to spread the hotspot). Getting a flat even shaded object with torch close up can be a pain though where as speedlight with/without stofen is always smooth and even so easy

    For the stencil approach more diffused light is better but speedlight with stofen should do it. By stencil i mean Wittner Fabrice enlightened series style works.

  6. #6

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    Re: Lightpainting

    I think Davey's suggestion is the way to go but first you get to know the Guide Number of the flash and for differing brightness levels you either adjust the flash brightness or the number of times you flash at each position.
    I have only done it once in film days and my thoughts for digital are that best will be to take a separate photo for each flash position and combine in editing. Film does not build up noise the way digital does. It is also possible you will need to turn off the 'black frame' option to speed things up.

    This link is interesting which shows it is a simple process but much depends on the thought and visualisation of the photographer as they work in the dark.
    http://www.chaskielberg.com/index.ph...0&p=4&a=0&at=0

  7. #7

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    Re: Lightpainting

    I've never invested in a flash unit...what I had in mind was one of those things like this http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-4351-7...en+flashlights and use a piece of cloth for diffusing if necessary. Workable??

  8. #8

    Re: Lightpainting

    This is the one used in the first link that I posted and was used to light a landscape shot. Not sure what the difference is in the two.

    http://www.amazon.com/Brinkmann-800-.../dp/B0002YU4JG

  9. #9
    Davey's Avatar
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    Re: Lightpainting

    problem with most of those mass produced high power LED spot ones is the tint is likely something like 1A, 1B 1C which is very very blue. You need 4C or 5C ideally, T6 3C's are a bit cool although white to the eye, 4C and 5C are best bet. 6C and 7C are too yellow I find.

    Also with a model like that you'll struggle to vary intensity an with reflector like that you'll never paint something close or precise. It may be perfect for the job it may be terrible. A cheap manual strobe and a 2 swatch sample book of gels is your cheaper versatile bet IMHO. Throw in a 2 stofen and you can light almost anything at any distance. If you know you're only going to light static objects at high ranges you like painting a barn 200m out then yeah a spot may be fine but generally they are too big and inflexible I find. More so for starting with since they're only really useful when you know that's what you need, not for getting into light painting.

    Look up likes of Troy Paiva's lost america. and you'll see what I mean about close up painted stuff but even. You'll get uneven streaks and clipping in places with a spot like that close up. Cloth is bad for cutting down the light as it just eats too much and isn't very good. Variable power light is better usually. I'm not saying don't touch a spot light, just saying they are very cool as use cheaper LEDs; cold and warm xm-l's like in that come off the same production lines but cool are more common and also less desirable for those into lights so don't sell in component market as well. Look on candlepowerforums for more info on lights and tint charts (from those you can see 4c is close to ideal warmish neutral white and 1A and likes is blue).

    A huge consideration is anything moving in your scene. For freezing people, trees in wind etc you NEED a speedlight/strobe&inverter since a flashlight wont freeze them you'll get smearing, great if you want it but generally you wont. Of course in very dark conditions with a sky behind moving stuff like people you get a slight black halo on long exposures around stuff you've frozen with a strobe but it beats blurred up light blob.

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