Continuing on with this months project of Light Painting I set out to do a few things this week. First I wanted to identify the types of shots I wanted to take and what I thought would make for some cool photos. Second I wanted to scope a few locations and take some test shots to see if what I wanted was possible and if my assumptions were right.
Thinking about the types of light painting pictures I have seen I felt they really fit into a few categories -
- Only Light Paining – This is where the only thing in the picture is the light painting. Personally I feel like unless you can make some really cool patterns with your lights or have a great idea for how the lights will look this has the highest probability of a boring type of light painting shot. Now if you can make some cool patterns you could get some very cool shots.
- Mainly Light Painting – This is where you can see some of the surrounding picture, it’s more of a full picture then just light painting but the main point is still the light painting. To me this feels like a more interesting use of light painting. It forces you to think about both the normal night shot and the light painting. It makes for a great multi faceted shot that can be much more interesting.
- Light Painting Accent – A normal night shot with some aspect of light painting included. To me this can be just as much if not more interesting the last option and usually more interesting then just a shot of light painting.
Moving on to scoping a location and what I was looking for, were back to a few common sense ideas for what to keep your eyes open for and some ideas that I think could be cool.
- Watch out for bright street lights, these can be hard to deal with especially when you have a much darker scene in general.
- In my area there are some bright electronic billboards these can give you photo a weird light cast depending on what they are displaying at the moment. Not always bad but just something to be aware of.
- Busy streets, car lights can ruin a light painting shot, so beware.
- The sketchy guy walking down the street in the bad area of town your probably in right now. This is just common sense but keep an eye on your surroundings, you have expensive camera gear and are probably attracting more attention then you think.
- Something cool to include in your picture if you want it. In my shot from this week I found a really cool underpass that was light slightly and the Empire State Building in the background.