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Loving the motorcycle lifestyle doesn't always mean we ride all the time, although that's a big part of it. There are times where I just want to appreciate bikes and have some fun with friends. The photograph below is an example of just such an evening I spent light painting motorbikes with two friends of mine.
This picture was taken with the most basic of DSLR camera, kit lens, a simple tripod and some LED flashlights.
- Mount your DSLR camera up on the tripod
- Set your DSLR to full manual exposure and select an apature above f11 (the greater the f value, the more prominent the starbursts of any surrounding lights will be)
- For your shutter speed, select the timed maximum (usually 30 seconds) or if you have a remote trigger set the camera shutter to 'button release'
- Frame your shot
- Get proper focus, you may need the use of an artificial light source (i.e. flashlight) in order for your camera to auto focus in the dark and lock in the correct focal point
- If you're using the timed shutter, then set your camera to a count down timer so the action of you pressing the button doesn't introduce any unwanted shake in to the picture. Having a remote trigger means thihs isn't an issue
- Once the shutter is open run around with whatever lights you brought along and have some fun!
Making it better
For properly excellent lightpainting results, here are a few things to consider:
- Have someone be the designated camera operator. The camera operator with a black card that they can place over the lens as you reposition or move the light around can make it very easy for you to paint something complex in a single shot
- Find your lens' sharpest apature point. Most lenses are sharpest a few stops below wide open. So a lens that can go to f22 will likely be best at about f16
- Use a quality lens. Proper glass means your image will be sharper and have nicer colour reproduction
- Most of us don't have tethered external screens to preview our photographs as we take them, so zoom in on the LCD and scrutinize the details. Nothing's worse then spending hours shooting on location only to get on your computer and realize that the details are all shaky or out fo focus
Light painting can be a lot of fun and some of you will discover terrific new ways to showoff your bikes with the process. So get out there and start shooting. Don't forget to come back and share it with us on EatSleepRIDE.