Light

Light Painting With An LED Light Panel

Light Painting With An LED Light Panel

A little while back, I decided to try an LED Light Panel in my night photography.  I'd seen a few mentions of people using them in night photography circles and when I saw night photography friend Royce Bair's comments about them in his e-book, I knew I had to give it a try.
    
Now that I've used it for a while both on my own and in the night photography workshops I teach together with Darren White, I've found it to be a great addition that allows us to do a few things we weren't previously able to do.  As a result, it's now a required part of my light painting toolkit.

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The Best Flashlight For Light Painting

The Best Flashlight For Light Painting

Background
A little while back, I posted an article where I reviewed the Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight for light painting.  At that point, it was the best light I'd seen for night photography and it became my favorite "brush" for light painting.  The neutral to warm tint and the gentle, even cast of light worked well in a variety of light painting situations.

Problems With Availability
Not long after posting the article, supplies for the dual xenon spotlight dried up.  I had stirred the interest in people's minds but now they couldn't find the light.  As a result, I've had a pretty steady stream of people asking for an alternative light.  And while, my dual xenon spotlight still works great for me, I felt the need to help find a good light to recommend to others so I decided to take another look at which light would be a best choice for the night photographer looking to add some light painting...

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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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How to Find Dark Skies for Night Photography

How to Find Dark Skies for Night Photography

Finding dark skies can seem challenging at first - especially if you don't use any tools to guide you along the way. Sure, you can drive away from the city into the countryside, but there's a little more to it than that. Fortunately, astronomers have been thinking about dark skies for a long time so this isn't anything new.

So over the years, I've come across a few tools that help to identify some locations that would be good and others that don't quite fit the bill. This approach to driving my night adventures with light pollution data is a key part of my dark sky photography planning.

Option #1 - Dark Sky Finder
My favorite tool is called the Dark Sky Finder at http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/ - a website that lays light pollution data over top of a Google Map. This makes it really easy to see just where the light pollution is with colors indicating the intensity of the light pollution - a great asset for planning night photography adventures in the Continental US...

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