For some time now, I've been very frustrated with my personal photography. I've decided that the biggest problem I have is that I need to learn more... I should clarify this a bit though...
For the past while I've been a member of an online photo mentoring program and while there I had some great help in the form of critiques, inspiration, and motivation but as I've already mentioned I've been in a real slump. After a long time in that programme, I decided that I didn't have the time to dedicate myself to that path and felt I was spending the money but not doing the homework and then seeing no improvement in my photos.
Well therein lies my problem. I've never been good at homework! Even though there was never any actual homework in that programme ... per se... To get out of it anything of real value, one should always put the time into the given assignments and challenges and that's what I found I couldn't accomplish.
So, after almost a year of relative inactivity, I made the difficult decision to cancel that account and decided instead to focus on my learning in a new way.
I learn by doing. That's how I've always been. When I make a photo, I'll remember it and be able to reproduce it... Then when I edit that photo I learn even more about composition, colour, and much more.
I have planned out this new learning path of mine as a long term commitment. There will be many stages of how I progress and they will all be revealed in time. For now though, welcome to stage 1!
I am going to be making photos and then posting those results along with behind the scenes photos and explanations on how the photo was made and then edited... if at all.
I'm hoping this personal challenge will not only help those who see and read the posts but will also help me by making me challenge myself more to try new things.
This first photo is a light painting I made this past Tuesday night. I knew I wanted to make my first post in this series light painting but couldn't think of an interesting subject. When I saw this lightbulb, I had an idea!
I wanted to make this bulb look like there were gases escaping and yet still illuminating the bulb. I set up my Nikon D7100 (The Schwartz) with a 24-85mm lens and pre focused on the bulb with the lights on. Once I got my focus, I locked the focus back to manual and didnt touch it from then on. I then clipped the light bulb to my third arm and clamped the other side of that arm to a light stand off to the right of the bulb. I was ok with the clamp showing on the base of the bulb because that proves that the bulb is not in a socket but rather just sitting there with coloured gasses all around it.
I had The Schwartz tethered to my Mac using Lightroom to help me see the details of where the light was hitting after each shot, make some changes on the following shot, and continue that process until I got everything the way I liked it.
Usually this process can take several hours and anywhere from 10 - 100 photos to get one that I really like. This time, I stopped at #7.
The first shot was to see how the light would show up with the specific aperture, and ISO I was shooting at. I was at f18 and 100 ISO. The shutter speed would vary based on how much light I wanted to apply. After taking several more, I started to see how the light was taking shape and got a more defined idea of what the final photo should be like. By the time I got to the 7th photo, I thought I liked it enough and packed it in for the night. The final exposure time on the 7th photo ended up being 99 seconds long.
I used 3 flashlight tools for this. 2 were $5.00 light wands that I bought at Home depot. I modified them by adding fibre optic brushes to the tips that I bought at Canadian tire for $10.00 each. Unfortunately the last time I went back to buy more they told me they no longer have them so I had to source them elsewhere. Here's a link to some I found online. As you can see in the short video they show, the fibre optics part is all attached to a plug. That plug sits perfectly on the top of the coloured wand and with a bit of tape and some shielding to cover the wand light, shazam! You've got yourself a fiber optic paint brush!
Using the 2 brushes with one turned on to red and one to blue, I "painted" the light onto the image and then used the third flashlight to just hit the front of the bulb with white light to outline the glass.
Above are the 7 photos I made. These helped me see how the lighting looked and how the photo was composed in the frame. The beauty of light painting is that you make the by lighting it up as you're exposing it. When the exposure is complete, it pops up on the computer screen where you can view it larger and decide where you want to go with it. Once you've created the image you like you may want to do more with it by editing but you usually shouldn't have to do too much.
Here are the behind the scenes shots. First you see the setting I used on The Schwartz. The next photo shows how I was tethered to my computer and used a corded remote control to press and lock the shutter open until I was done my light painting. The last photo shows the tools I used. I attach a snoot to the front of my flashlights for light painting. It allows me to control how much light is coming out of the flashlight by merely pinching the snoot down. I only used the white one for this photo. The metallic looking one that's in the photo I adapted by adding a red gel inside the snoot in case I want to just add some red somewhere. The brushes are the converted wands and fibre optics with a black shield on them to prevent the wand part from showing up in the photo.
I hope you try something new yourself and share your experience with the Daytripper Photo Community on Google plus. That's where we announce our day trips first and it's where anyone can bounce any photographic idea off the group and get useful and thoughtful feedback 24/7!
Enjoy this BTS story and check out everything Daytripper Photo is up to at www.daytripperphoto.com