Light Painting Photography

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Generally, light in photography is essential in producing photos. It can make the difference between an incredible shot and a terrible one. Light itself can be used to draw a subject or write words, to produce interesting images.
 
Light painting/drawing or Graffiti photography is a technique applied by taking a long exposure photograph while moving any type of light source or moving the camera itself in the dark. 
 
From Science to Art
Believe it or not! It all started as a science endeavor, then became an important visual art type. In 1882, while Étienne Marey and Georges Demeny were working on a physiological study of the living organisms’ movements. They attached incandescent bulbs to the joints of an assistant and created the first known light painting photograph using a long exposure camera. 
 
In the 1940s, Gjon Mili pioneered photoflash photography and used stroboscopic light to capture the motion of dancers, musicians, and skaters in single exposure shots.
 
Pablo Picasso’s Light Drawing
An artistic breakthrough in light painting perception took place in 1949 when Gjon Mili showed Pablo Picasso his photographs. Immediately, Picasso was inspired, took a penlight and began to draw in the air, while Mili set up his camera and captured the famous pictures known as “Picasso Draws a Centaur”.
 
Light Painting in the 21st Century
This type of art became more popular in the 21st century, due to the increasing availability of Digital Single-Lens Reflex cameras (DSLR), advances in portable light sources such as LEDs, photography contests and media sharing websites where practitioners can exchange images and ideas.
 
 
Do It Yourself
It is very simple, you do not have to be professional to create your own light painting photo.
 
Equipment needed
  1. A camera that allows manual control of the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO. If not available, use the customized modes: fireworks, night scene, or indoor party. 
  2. A light source such as candles, matches, fireworks, lighter flints, fiber optic light pen, LED lights, neon lights or glow sticks.
  3. A Tripod to set the camera on, or simply steady your camera on a stable object. 
  4. Color gels or cellophane to color the light sources.
  5. A dark location shoot at night or in a dark room.
Step-by-Step Instructions
  1. Set the camera on manual mode: Aperture f/11, exposure 30 seconds, ISO 100, and turn off the flash.
  2. Wrap the light source with colored cellophane.
  3. Set the self-timer, face the flashlight at the lens, and start writing (backwards), drawing, or doodling your design.
References

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