Illumination

How Do You Light Paint In A Starry Night Photograph?

How Do You Light Paint In A Starry Night Photograph?

Having recently taken a look at my favorite "Paint Brush" for night photography (the Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight), I wanted to share some of the techniques I've developed for creating great nightscape images with light painting.  That's right, there's a lot more to it than just turning the light on and pointing at your subject...  so read on and see what approaches I was able to figure out work best.  If you missed the review on the Brinkmann Spotlight, see it here.

In the image shown to the right titled "Fingers In The Fire", I captured a vertical panorama showing the Milky Way stretching all the way from one horizon to another.  I used an indirect Light Paint Spike™ with my hand to illuminate the big tree in the bottom of the image and a direct Light Paint Stroke™ on the trees that appear in the top.  Both of these techniques are described below.

Why I Hesitated To Use Light Painting For So Long
It's not easy to tell by looking at my portfolio today, but I stalled for quite some time before actually starting to use light painting in my night photography - mostly because I wasn't impressed with a lot of light painting efforts I'd seen.  Many of them used light painting that was so strong that it overwhelmed the image and didn't look natural...

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