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Night Timed Exposures / Light Painting class

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Hi Everyone :headbang:

After looking through some great long exposures of rivers and streams on the forum, this got my creative juices flowing.

well, I just got back from a 110 mile drive to Rhyolite Nevada (a ghost town) Got some cool pix of the Cook Bank building and of some other stuff, and would like to share with everyone.


Ill start with explaining what I did to create these images, Im sure it will open a whole new world of photography for many people.

These were shot at dusk, then the moonrise lit up the edge of the sky nicely. see below the last image for a full explaination









unless you can expose for atleast 10 to 30 seconds, you wont be able to do light painting as you need time and a dark location. an SLR is handy for this, some point and shoots have a M setting for manual, more cant do super long exposures though


Dark clothing helps! if you walk in front of a camera exposing it wont see you as long as you keep moving, dark clothing helps (dont wear white!)

Bogen Tripod

Canon 5D 12 megapixel full frame DSLR

Digital shutter release (cable release in the old days) nice, but not a neccessary item. for exposures of 15 seconds to several minutes.

f5.6 or f8 is a good starting point

ISO 100 has the least "noise" so thats what I use. you can experiment with it, the higher the ISO the faster the light can enter the sensor or film. Also the slower ISO lets you have more time to "Paint" with light.

I used a wide lens (17mm)

some color gelatin filters (avail at most camera shops) you can shoot without color filters too. (I use these gels over my flashlight to color the light)

you can also use substitute stuff such as yellow bags from the veterans donation bags or blue bags from walmart, anything to color the light as long as it can shine through the item.


I almost alwasy shoot TUNGSTEN setting at night (little lightbulb icon on the white balance setting)


Make sure you are set to TUNGSTEN or the little light bulb setting if you are using flashlights, car headlights or any tunsgten light source, it is like adding a blue filter to your lens, this gets rid of the yellow in regular flashlilghts and such.


You can use the daylight setting if you use a regular camera flash.

For using flash to light, remove it from your camera, set to manual medium to low power, add your color gel (or not) to the flash, now you can side light, back light and flash your subject. while your camera is exposing. you can change the color gel or bag and do other colors on other areas in the frame of the image capture. you can also combine = flashlights, LED lights, flashes and such any number of ways.

to make light "trails " and Paint with the light, point the flash light at the camera and move it about, spell your name or just make squiggles. go around 10 to 20 feet or more in front of the camera for best effect.

It wont hurt your image either to flash directly towards the lens, you can flash your frind, have them move, the flash em again for ghost images.


I like to side light stuff, it gives dimension and shadow.


Im am not the best at explaing things, but hope this gives a little insight to this type of photography art


I will be glad to answer questions to anyone interested, just leave a post or email me through the forum




my websites




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Awesome shots! I really love the wagon wheel shot. Your explanation was helpful and did provide hints to some new things I want to try. Thanks again awesome.


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Thanks everyone, Ive been lucky to live out west, there is a TON of subject matter, one of my favorites is lightning, the last couple years have been kinda bunk, but a few years back we were getting some excellent storms to photograph.

Ill have to post em in the next few days or weeks here (I have billions of images) pretty much just long time exposures at night of a storm cloud, the closer you get to the storm, the cooler the images, also the more dangerous.



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