During the last few weeks I watched several KelbyOne online classes by photographer and Nikon Ambassador Dave Black about painting with light. That is something that has interested me since a long time but I have never tried it before. If you are not living in the Midwest of the United States you heard it at least in the media, it was really cold here lately, thanks to a polar vortex, and I guess long cold winter nights are perfect for starting such a new photography adventure.

I tell you upfront, it looks easy when you watch the video classes but I had more than 30 attempts before I had results that reflected what I had in mind. I wanted to keep it simple and used just the turntable and a couple of my favorite vinyl records as a background for my first lightpainting project. The light source was a LED flashlight with a very bluish color. I wanted a cold light for this photo but it was a little too much and so I countered it by setting the white balance in the Nikon D750 to 10,000 Kelvin. I attached a little snoot, made out of paper, to the head of the lamp in order to give the light more direction and not spill it all over the place while painting. The room was pitch dark, the shutter was open for 30 seconds at f/20 and I started painting. It takes a little while to find out how much light every element in the frame needs and at the end there is no two photos that look alike.

The learning curve is steep and it is easy to make mistakes that ruin the whole photo. Sounds like a lot of work, but it was instead much fun and a very satisfying process. The possibilities for painting with light are endless and I’m sure even after this polar vortex has weakened, there is another cold winter night waiting for me to start another project…

Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-120mm / f4, Induro GIT 404XL tripod, RRS BH-55 ballhead, @ 48mm, 30s, f/20, ISO100