DRAWING TRACES OF LIGHT IN LIGHT PAINTING
The last blog was about the effective illumination of the light painting scene. You can find this article here. The topic of this article is painting light traces (light drawing). Light Drawing is usually the first step into the art form of Light Painting. Figures or letters (light writing or light calligraphy) are drawn into the picture with a variety of light sources, just as with a pen on paper. In this tutorial I explain which torches, light painting tools or other light sources are suitable for this technique. In addition, you will find tips and tricks on the various working methods in this article.
EQUIPMENT AND CAMERA SETTINGS
The equipment required (camera, tripod, remote release, etc.) and the camera settings are no different from those for illuminating the light painting scene. You can read about this in this article: https://www.lichtkunstfoto.de/en/light-painting-beleuchtung-der-location/
FLASHLIGHTS / TORCHES
Torches for painting light trails differ from those for illumination. For painting light trails, you do not need high luminous fluxes of many thousands of lumens, 300 to 1000 lumens are sufficient in the vast majority of cases. For use on longer light painting tools, a narrow beam angle is advantageous. Torches with as many brightness levels as possible, a homogeneous strobe and the possibility of saving the selected mode are well suited. This means that it is available immediately after switching on. It is also important that the torch can be switched off without delay. It is also very convenient if the torch has a “momentary mode”, i.e. it only lights up as long as you press the button.
The Light Painters torch from Light Painting Paradise is highly recommended. Unfortunately, it is no longer available and will most likely not be produced in the future. It is to be hoped that at some point a manufacturer will take up this unique concept and produce a similar torch. I can’t think of many alternatives to this torch. Torches with Anduril UI fulfil some of the features mentioned above.
- Lumintop Tool AA – small torch with 650 lumens and a colour rendering index of 93. The Tool AA is powered either by 3.7 V14500 LiIon battery or 1.5 V AA battery. However, the maximum luminous flux is lower when operated with battery.
- Lumintop FW3A – Flashlight with three LEDs and 2800 lumens maximum luminous flux. The FW3A is powered by a 3.7V 18650 battery.
- Noctigon KR4 – Torch with 4 LEDs and 4200 lumens maximum luminous flux. A version with SST20 LEDs with a high colour rendering index of 95 is also available. The KR4 is operated with a 3.7 V 18650 battery. It is essential to ensure that the battery used has a high current capacity, i.e. that it can deliver a constant current of at least 10 A.
- Convoy S2+ – Small, low-priced torch with 18650 battery. Different versions are available, among others with coloured LEDs.
- Wurkkos WK40 – RGBW torch with 21700 battery (included). This torch can emit white, red, blue, green light and the mixed colours of red, green and blue. In addition, there are some colour changing and fading modes. The brightness is controlled independently of the colour or mode via a rotary switch on the head of the torch. A very successful operating concept, in my opinion. You can find my review of the WK40 here: https://www.lichtkunstfoto.de/en/review-der-wurkkos-wk40-rgbw-taschenlampe/
Die oben erwähnten Taschenlampen passen in die Adapter von Light Painting Paradise und den Universal Connector. Mit diesen ist die Verbindung von Taschenlampe und Light Painting Tool denkbar einfach. In den Adaptern von Light Painting Paradise ist Platz für passende Farbfilter aus Acryl.
Einen weiterführenden Artikel über Taschenlampen und deren Eigenschaften findest Du hier: https://www.lichtkunstfoto.de/some-basics-about-led-flashlights-and-some-myths/
LIGHT PAINTING TOOLS – “LIGHT BRUSHES”
Many different things are suitable for painting beautiful light traces, depending on the desired effect. From thin, fine lines to rather flat, diffuse traces, everything is possible. On the one hand, professional light painting tools are available in the various light painting shops. But homemade tools or tools for other purposes also serve their purpose. As a beginner, you should first look in your own household to see if you can find suitable light painting tools there, such as empty film cans, lightsabres for children, diffusers for torches or similar. You can also use acrylic glass plates that you cut yourself to create cool light trails in the Light Painting photo. Without any kind of light shaper, i.e. only with the torch, it is almost impossible to paint clean light traces. The light trace burns out very quickly, i.e. it is too bright. In addition, the viewing angle is very small. The light from the torch is only visible if you shine it directly towards the camera. For first attempts, it is sufficient to attach baking paper or other “diffuse” material to the head of the torch. To add colour to the light traces, simply attach a piece of colour filter foil between the torch and the Light Painting Tool.
You can find an article about inexpensive light painting tools here: https://www.lichtkunstfoto.de/en/light-painting-tools-fuer-wenig-geld/
First the lens is covered, then the exposure is started. On a command from the Light Painter, the helper then uncovers the lens and the Light Painter then immediately starts painting the light trails. Many light sources cannot be switched off, or not quickly. Therefore, the helper covers the lens again on command. Depending on the further steps planned, the lens is then covered and uncovered again and again to avoid unwanted light traces or too much ambient light from the moon, street lamps or similar.
When painting the light traces, you should always work calmly and with concentration. If the light traces are to be taken with the same brightness, it is necessary to keep the speed of movement constant.
You can find a more detailed article on painting orbs here: https://www.lichtkunstfoto.de/en/light-painting-tutorial-wie-dreht-man-einen-orb/
I wish you good light all the time