IMPRESSIVE LIGHT PAINTING IDEAS WITH PRISMS
The topic of today’s article is working with prisms in Light Painting photography. Cut prisms made of optical glass are mounted in front of the lens, either directly on the filter thread of the lens or with a holder. The light is refracted by the prism. In this way, a wide variety of light painting effects can be created. Prisms are available in a wide variety of shapes. It is also possible to combine several prisms. There are sometimes a few surprises when working with them. Some effects look completely different than you would expect. But it is precisely this aspect that makes this particular type of light painting so appealing.
What equipment is needed?
In addition to the camera, lens and a sturdy tripod, you need prisms and, if necessary, a mount to attach them in front of the lens. I use either a gooseneck, a Magic Arm, which is attached to the camera’s hot shoe, or a second tripod with a screw clamp. I can screw some of the prisms directly onto the filter thread of the lens. I also printed a holder for the screw prisms on the 3D printer to be able to use them in other positions and at a greater distance from the lens. I can also combine two prisms with the holder.
What to consider when light painting?
As the prisms cause parts of the image to be displayed multiple times, you should not overdo it with light trails or the lighting of the scene and leave space for the additional parts. Otherwise the result could quickly appear completely overloaded. As always, a few test shots help to judge the effect of each prism. Based on this, I then plan the realisation of the light painting image. You should also avoid illuminating the prism directly with a torch. In this case, the prism itself would be very bright in the picture and would most likely ruin any light painting. That said, I use the same torches and tools that I use in my other paintings. The working method and camera settings are also the same. The prisms do not absorb any light. It is therefore not necessary to adjust the aperture and ISO, even if you take some parts of the picture with and others without the prism.
Almost infinite possibilities
As can be seen in the pictures, the prisms can be used for a wide variety of picture ideas. The effect can be varied by changing the position and rotation of the prism. Especially in combination with other techniques such as camera rotation light painting photography, the creative possibilities are almost endless.