How to paint with light using a torch and your Canon D-SLR
We show you how to create images drawn using a torch. All you need is a bright light, your Canon camera and a tripod. We then show you how to showcase your images by creating a colourful triptych.
Get yourself a good torch with a bright bulb; a powerful bicycle light is ideal. Set up your D-SLR on a tripod in as dark a place as possible. Set an exposure of around 20-30 seconds (to capture the torch drawing as well as blurring you in shot), and a narrow aperture (say f/16) depending on ambient light. Next you need to focus manually on the spot you’ll be painting light with your torch. Start your exposure by using the self-timer on your camera or with a cable release if you have one. Quickly get into position so you’re facing your camera (effectively ‘behind’ what you’re drawing) and turn the torch on, draw your words or object, then turn the torch off and walk out of frame, before your exposure ends.
Once you’ve got your end result you can have fun adding colour to your light paintings and even create a triptych like we did. Find out how to below, you can do this in Photoshop CS and Elements….
Step1: Open your light painting
If you have Elements, open up your image and go to Enhance > Adjust Colour > Colour Variations. Select midtones and then add whatever colour you wish, you can adjust the colour intensity by moving the slider in the bottom left. Once you’re happy save your painting, it might be a good idea to name each image by the colour as you’ll be creating three in total. If you’re using CS, you can apply colour by going to Image > Adjustments > Colour Balance or by adding a Colour Balance Adjustment Layer.
Photoshop Elements Photoshop CS
Step 2: Repeat
Repeat step 1 two more times, each time picking a different colour so you end up with three different colour light paintings.
Step 3: Extend canvas
In Elements go to Image > Resize > Canvas Size. In CS go to Image > Canvas size
In the width box enter a new value of four times the current size, so for example, if your image is 20cm wide, enter a new value of 80cm. This will allow for enough room for all three images to sit beside each other with a gap in between. Next select the middle left anchor point just below to ensure the canvas extends out to the right and click OK.
Step 4: Create triptych
Open the two other light paintings you saved earlier and click and drag images onto the extended canvas and position with an equal white gap in between. Don’t forget to flatten your image before saving as a JPG, go to Layer > Flatten Image.
This entry was posted on Friday, December 7th, 2012 at 5:48 pm and is filed under Canon D-SLR Skills. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.