Going to the Light
A 365-day Photo Journal

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 41: Writing with Light

click photo for larger version

Today's photo was about having fun and learning something new. When I was in high school, I worked at the Warr Acres Library and I remember looking through photography books and finding this photographer (I apologize that I don't know his name) who made these incredible light paintings by keeping the shutter open on the camera and basically drawing in the air with a light source. As I recall, he used fire. Anyway, that was back in the days when they used this thing called film and when you took a photo you had to wait until it was developed to see how it turned out. Because of this limitation I was never daring enough to try this techinique.

Well tonight when I was seeking inspiration, I remembered this and decided I should try it. I setup the camera on a tripod and manually focused to a spot where I would be standing. I then set the camera to f/16 and used a shutter speed of 15 seconds. I turned off all the lights and used an LED flashlight as my light source. I then clicked the shutter and quickly went to the other end of the room, pointed the flashlight back at the camera and wrote in the air. After several attempts trying to spellout LightSmith, I decided I neither had enough time or room and opted to just spell out light. Now I must admit that I'm not skilled enough to write backwards. So I wrote as I normally would and flipped the image in Photoshop.

If you have a camera where you can manually adjust the shutter speed, I recommend giving this a try. It is great fun and I'm looking forward to creating more diverse "Light Paintings" in the future. Here's a link I found regarding the technique.


Kristie said...

Film? Developing? What are these strange things of which you speak??? :)

I really love this. I actually had the thought, when you said you pointed the light at the camera, "why isn't it backwards??" so I'm glad to hear you flipped the image and my first instinct was right.

I think in addition to "photography", you could classify this as "performance art" :)

Alisa said...

I too thought, "wait how did it write backwards!"
I would love to try something like this.
LOVE the LIGHT- (I am going to have Jay make that a key that I just hit every time I come to your blog.)

Film- my sister gave me a charm for my bracelet of a camera. She was really puzzled what the cylinder thing hanging from the end was. I explained its what we used to use inside the camera. Film.

Jan said...

Very cool.