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Posted on 5th November, 2017

Halloween Photography


With Halloween upon us, I was asked to take a few ghoulish photographs in and around the village. The snaps were taken using a technique known as Light Painting whereby the shutter of the camera is held open for an extended period of time and an image is created by drawing, or Painting using a light source.


These include torches, LED keyring lights, battery operated festive lights, glow sticks and wire wool. The basic photographic equipment is very simple: a camera with manual focus and manual shutter speed settings, a tripod, or other firm support such a wall, fence, gate post etc. and plenty of patience as there’s a lot of trial error.

T-Rex night hunting

As all the photographs are taken in the dark the basic is setup is the same of all of the photos, with only the exposure times altering from anything from a few seconds to 560 seconds in the case of the Dinosaur. I use an aperture of between F8 to F11 with the lowest ISO your camera has, typically 100 and any noise reduction features turned off. To focus the camera I illuminate the area of interest with a torch and use the Auto Focus to focus the shot then switch over to manual.

Upright Mummy

The various figures and creatures within the photos were created using a number of different methods. The  Mummy type figures were created with a translucent plastic deodorant bottle top placed over a torch to create an illuminated globe in lieu of the normal directional beam of light. The colour was achieved by placing a balloon over the end of the torch, but sweet wrappers work equally well. The torch is them traced over your own body using a side to side motion. By wearing dark and tight fitting clothing insufficient light reflects from you so you don’t appear in the final image. Once the figure has been traced the area is lit using a torch or flash, which reveals whatever is behind allowing the viewer to see through the figure.
















The Dinosaur, Skeleton and Knight Watchman were simply drawn using a LED keyring light facing the camera then the area was lit up using a torch. Finally, the bats flying over the winged figure at the top of the page were formed using a simple stencil placed in front of an off-camera flash.




The large ball of string in front of the cricket pavilion was created issuing a string of battery festive lights tapped together so all the bulbs form one large light with the battery pack at the other end of the wire. The lights are then spun in a vertical circle while the person spinning the lights slowly rotates on the spot.


None of the photographs have been Photoshopped or manipulated, however, they have been straightened and cropped where necessary. 


I hope this gives you a small insight into light painting, but if anyone has any questions or tips and tricks of their own to pass on please do not hesitate to contact me at Cliff@Kirk-Brown-Ltd.co.uk.



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Comments (2)

Amazing results but requiring a lot of skill and patience!
Wow, fascinating.....