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Question - Question about Light Painting

Discussion in 'Kit / Clothing / Equipment' started by johnsalomon, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. johnsalomon

    johnsalomon Germany is the "wurst"
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    (That is, illuminating very dark scenes, not the fiddly making-patterns-with-glowy-shit kind).

    Whenever I'm underground, I end up in corridors of sorts.

    I have a few ways of lighting those up: long exposure with lanterns, bounce flash off a back wall, composite shots of lights at multiple spots. There's also what I've seen Ojay do a lot - i.e. partial illumination of dark bits.

    Thing is, sometimes I want to do a quick job of lighting something evenly with a flashlight. That inevitably comes out splotchy and uneven.

    I often wear a white shirt, so that I can bounce a flash or torch in strobe mode off it while moving around behind the camera. That works OK, but unfortunately the light intensity drops off pretty quickly - so whatever's down the hallway is badly lit. How do you deal with this? Is there some technique or video guide you can recommend on how to "paint" long dark hallways?

    Should I be using a powerful incandescent torch or something? Any recommendations? I know Wevsky does some amazing ones...any guidelines on how to move a torch around? Would a diffuser work? With that I get the same problem of light drop off.
     

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  2. obscurity

    obscurity Flaxenation of the G!!!
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    The best way I have found to light the photo is to use either a maglite or a lenzer p7. Stand behind the camera and set off the exposure (A remote is best for this as you will have a longer exposure when using bulb mode).

    Start by using a wide beam to light the foreground. Focus the beam about half way between spot and flood and then start with the floor...
    Down low to the floor and move the light at an even pase across the floor. Using this method it will pick up all the detail on the floor.
    Next move to the sides/walls again keeping close and painting in a brush stroke motion up the walls.
    Do the same with the roof/top and again try to keep the light sorce as high to the roof as possible.

    Finally you zoom the torch out to spot beam (at this point you want it to shine as far as possible with only a small spot beam. Now shine it down the tunnel and slowly light the back of the tunnel. You will need to do this slowly but keep the light moving at all times. Give more light to the back of the shot than the rest of the lighting.

    To add extra depth to the photo I light out of available space too like junctions or doorways. Again give it more light but keep it moving at all times.

    Finally hit your remote to finish the shot. As a rule of thumb I usually aim to shoot at F9 to give a good depth of field but depending on the size of the space you may want to drop to 7.1 or lower to allow more light (I do this in mines)

    This is the technique i use for all my light painting and this is what I showed Wevsky which he now uses when shooting his photos.

    I hope this helps mate. Feel free to take a look at some of my reports or my site www.desertionphotography.co.uk to see what results this method can produce. All photos are stright out the camera in jpeg and uploaded with no editing so show exactly what you get out of the camera :thumb
     
  3. johnsalomon

    johnsalomon Germany is the "wurst"
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    This helps a lot, it's very specific. Thank you.

    I had not even thought about a variable focus / zoom torch, I will pick one up ASAP. P7 seems to be the go-to torch / any recommendations on lenses?

    My problem is largely the "keep the beam moving" - I sometimes lose track of where I've already illuminated, thus leading to brighter bits - but I guess that's where the practice comes in.

    For doorways, I can do multiple exposures with light in those, and stack them - that's the easiest bits. It's really just the hallways themselves.

    I'm usually at iso 160 and f/8 or thereabouts for this kind of thing.

    For Lensers, I gather that there are numerous manufacturers, just like for Cree. Any specific recommendations? I'm not too fussed about price, mainly looking for a good torch. Ideally I'd like to use my 18650s with it as I have a ton of them lying around.
     
  4. Happyshopper

    Happyshopper Brian Blessed's Codpiece
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    Don't forget it doesn't all have to happen in one shot, you can stack exposures of unevenly lit torch photos the same way you do star trails:

    Layer the photos in Photoshop then set the layer type to Lighten and they'll blend the exposures using the brightest part of each. You can then mask any over exposed parts of each layer and hopefully have a layer that's better exposed in the same area to fall back on.
     
  5. Oxygen Thief

    Oxygen Thief Admin
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    Is it 'overcomplicated Friday' or something.

    Use a P7 or similar, widest setting in the foreground, gradually moving to the focused setting at the furthest point. That will give you the same intensity of light throughout. Blotches are caused either by missing or staying on an area too long while the beam is to focused. If you have it wide you generally don't have these problems.
     
  6. johnsalomon

    johnsalomon Germany is the "wurst"
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    Yep that is what I do right now. Unfortunately if one area of a scene is blotchy, or the amount of exposure doesn't quite match up, it can still come across as uneven.

    Someone recently also taught me about putting an all-black ca. 30% opaque soft light layer over the image to even things out a bit.

    You actually just gave me an _AWESOME_ idea. I'm going out and buying a bag of these:

    http://www.amazon.com/Fulcrum-30010...1576782&sr=1-3&keywords=sylvania+do-it+lights

    and sticking some sort of hook or clip on the back of them. That might give some cool effects down a hallway.

    I have a big pile of Eneloop AAAs at home.


    OT, it's not a question of "overcomplicated". I simply didn't know how to do this. Nor that you can get torches with variable focus beams. Obscurity gave an awesome answer. You, you're just awesome. Yes, you. You are.
     
  7. obscurity

    obscurity Flaxenation of the G!!!
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    Yeah, by doing it section by section then you will find it easy to remember where the light has been 'painted'. So for example...starting in the right hand corner of the tunnel at floor level. Paint the floor as described and do this as a section. Kill the torch and stand up (you will now be in the left corner of the tunnel as you have moved across the floor. Now up the wall and again in one section then kill the torch. then along the roof and then down the wall back to the start. when the torch is off then you can take your time getting into position and ensuring your beam is set right for the next bit of the photo. All this in an exposure and you will get almost perfect results.

    The most popular torch especially for this type of lighting is a LED Lenser P7. there are cheaper/copy-cat models but id just go for the LED Lenser.

    I actually use a 3d maglite for all my photos as the softer light is more versitile and gives a softer light to paint with but that is just personal preference.

    As an example have a look at my recent fan bay report. This was done with this method and a 3d maglite. No layers or photoshop etc. Just one exposure and one photo. Once the light is off you can move around infront of the camera and it will not pick you up...

    http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/showthread.php/71289-Fan-Bay-Deep-Shelter-Dover-May-2012
     
  8. johnsalomon

    johnsalomon Germany is the "wurst"
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    Fantastic, and thanks for the tip on the Mag. I've heard that from others. Might pick up both and give it a try.

    I always end up knocking into shit in the dark, tbh.

    Another technique I've used is to hold a lantern in front of me (shielding it from the camera) and walk away from the lens slowly. Takes a _very_ long exposure, though, to avoid shadows. That's how we did this although if you look closely, you can see where I had to clone/heal between the left tracks because I walked too slowly.
     
  9. Snake Oil

    Snake Oil go in drains
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    thank you for this thread! I don't have a bulb mode on my camera so am limited to 30 second exposures. My usual method is around 10-ish seconds and waggle the torch from behind like a madman, I think I'll try multiple layers on my next outing :) I also keep forgetting I can use longer exposures if the light is off! :D
     
  10. Xan_Asmodi

    Xan_Asmodi Cave Monster
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  11. paulpowers

    paulpowers Massive Member
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    Yeah I usually take 3 - 4 shots to make sure it's right
     
  12. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    i was gunna say that..no wait you taught me lol
     
  13. Wevsky

    Wevsky A Predisposed Tourist
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    hs photo shop/stacking ..use a p7 paint it lol
     
  14. Za Gringo

    Za Gringo 28DL Zoo Member
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    They arnt amazing but better than nothing, cheap, take 3 AAAs and ae a whiter light than candles. The £1 store in England do 2 in a pack so you will prob find them cheaper if you shop about.
     
  15. Degenatron

    Degenatron 28DL Regular User
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    When lighting tunnels or similar spaces, I usually shine the torch down the length of the tunnel then I hold over the front of the torch, a white filter thing which is the same as a piece of tracing paper that diffuses the light completely and lights the foreground perfectly even. I use a 1300 lumen Cree XML- T6 torch most of the time. I normally use more than one torch so I often have the diffusing filter permanently attached to the torch and use whichever one I think will do the best job at the time.
     
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