Playing With My Flashlight…New Light Painting

December 8, 2014 § 14 Comments

"Booze & Ice Cubes Composite"

“Booze & Ice Cubes Composite”

I decided to play around with my little Streamlight Stylus flashlight again.  I haven’t used it in a while, concentrating more on available light, or most recently my Alien Bee strobes.  The cool thing about light painting is the fact that you really never get 2 exposures that are 100% exactly the same.  With practice, you can come really close, but usually(never) exact.  The cool thing about that is it makes every exposure exciting!  Now with Photoshop, you can blend a couple of images together and by masking, you can paint out or in what parts of each exposures you want to show or hide.  I did this with the 1st booze and ice cube shot.  I included both original images so you can see how I composited the different ice cubes.  The 2nd booze shot shows the original cubes, but I added color and a vignette to the background.  If you look at most of my booze images on my website, you’ll see more natural colors, but I thought I’d go a little wild here for the fun of it.  All of these images were shot on a black background.  With the old saws, I added my old barn door  that I used on the “horse trainer” shot a couple of weeks ago.  With the tennis rackets(maybe they’re badminton rackets…I don’t know for sure :D) I just left it black.  The rest of the booze shots and the Christmas bulbs, I painted in some color.  My favorite thing about light painting, is the ability to place light anywhere you want it.  For instance, you can see instantaneous changes on the rackets which would be really hard to achieve with strobes.  On the saw image, that back rusty saw has a beam of light across it.  Sure you could set up another light with a small snoot on it, but all I had to do is sweep my flashlight across the area…no set-up, and it took all of a couple of seconds.  The ice cubes presented the most difficult, or exciting situation…depending on how you want to view it(I choose exciting) since every little movement can make dramatic changes since there are so many curves, dents, ridges, etc. on each cube.  You do wind up with some specular highlights, that I find annoying, so I just remove them in Photoshop.  Anyhow, I thought I’d share my latest light paintings with you…hope you enjoy them.

"Booze & Ice Cubes...Original Cubes"

“Booze & Ice Cubes…Original Cubes”

"Original Booze & Cubes 1"

“Original Booze & Cubes 1”

"Original Booze & Cubes 2"

“Original Booze & Cubes 2”

"Original Christmas Bulbs"

“Original Christmas Bulbs”

"Christmas Bulbs Final"

“Christmas Bulbs Final”

"Old Tennis or Badminton Rackets"

“Old Tennis or Badminton Rackets”

"Old Saws"

“Old Saws”

Thanks again!

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§ 14 Responses to Playing With My Flashlight…New Light Painting

  • Very nice stuff ! I haven’t done any light painting since the 90’s.You inspire me to give it another go .
    Best, Art Dickinson

  • Lewis says:

    Hey Paul. Nice colors on the booze shots. Two questions –
    1. Noticing that the booze shots are different, did you drink them between takes?
    2. Which model of the Streamlight Stylus flashlight do you have, and is there any particular quality about it that made you buy it instead of one of the others?
    I’ve tried light painting of a house at night using a tight beam flashlight but it didn’t yield very good results. I would like a much finer beam.

    Thanks again for sharing your shots and techniques Paul.

  • Lewis, I think you mean me…my name’s Jon, but anyhow let me answer you. First, the “booze” is water with food coloring, and really old at that! It’s been sitting in a jug up in my studio for well over a year! The difference is that I rotated the glass between shots, and then the ice cubes slipped, so when I stuck my fingers in to adjust, I may have dripped some out…a food stylist I’m not! :D. My Streamlight is model #S/N6106317. Google Dave Black…famous Nikon photographer. He always used a more expensive light, still does, but now lists a Streamlight that he uses…different model number than mine, but it looks just like mine. The reason I bought this is because all the ones that other photographers recommend, run between $50 and $100. Mine cost $8. I figured I start low and upgrade if need be…I’m still using my $8 one after all this time! Also check out Harold Ross…fantastic work, has workshops, and has even built stuff out of PVC that attaches to the light he recommends. My Streamlight is a little bigger than a Bic Pen, so it wouldn’t be any good for large objects like houses. Again, check out Dave Black…he light paints everything from still life to those buttes in Monument Vally! Hope that helps>

    • Lewis says:

      Hey Jon!

      I don’t know what made me write “Paul”. But I get the members of the Beatles mixed up too (John, Paul, George, Ringo)! LOL Sorry about that.

      -Lewis

  • Lewis, no problem…this has happened before. I think subconsciously people think of the Vaul part of my last name DeVaul and write Paul. Just remember when it comes to the Beatles that Paul was “the cute one”! 😀

  • writecrites says:

    Jon (not Paul), I, too, wanted to thank you for detailing your technique. I’ve always wanted to try more light painting, so thanks to your help, I’ll give it a go. I tried it once but with bulkier lights. Now I’m all about light and easy (too many years shlepping heavy equipment around). Love your ice cube results.

  • Matt Welsh says:

    These are just gorgeous, especially the drink shots!

    • Matt, thanks. The drink shots are the most unpredictable, and therefore the most exciting! I expose these for 30 seconds each, and when I’m done, I have to wait for them to show up on my LCD window, there’s this anticipation that you don’t get with a regular image that shows up instantaneously. If something’s not quite right, you just go back and keep in mind what you want to improve on and then “paint” another. I used to try to get everything perfect on the same exposure which is almost impossible, but then I read about exposure blending which means you use masks in Photoshop to keep just the good parts of each exposure.

  • Tustin says:

    Hey Paul, I guest the ghost of Aaron Jones live in you! ; ) THnaks for the post!

    • Tustin, I do remember when Aaron Jones’ HoseMaster was all the rage. What’s cool about what I’m doing, is my Streamlight flashlight only cost $8! 😀

      Oh yeah, my name’s not Paul, it’s Jon.

      • Lewis says:

        See Jon, I’m not the only one who called you Paul! LOL I’m patiently waiting for your next blog post…

  • Lewis, I celebrated my 25th wedding anniversary this past August and my in-laws still misspell my last name!

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