I hope you had a great start of the year, I am still at holidays and playing around with my photography. Lately I been taking some pictures at fireworks and I got an idea, why not to try to paint with light. There are a lot of ways that you can paint with light, I tried two ways.
The first one I got the inspiration from fireworks. So I bought some kids flares, the little sticks that you can turn on fire and then some light and sparks comes out of it. Then I wait for the night and set my tripod in the garden and asked a friend to play with the flares while I shot the picture. I instructed my friend to draw something in the air with the flares, then I set my camera to a low ISO (ISO 100) a long shutter speed (8 to 10 seconds as I estimated that was the duration of each flare in average) and f8. When everything was ready I started shooting, the pictures were coming great right away, the problem was the drawing skills of my friend. But after a couple of bad shots she nailed it. The important thing to remember that the drawing must happen in a 2 dimentional world, the camera takes pictures in 2D. After the pictures came out from the camera I postprocessed them in Lightroom by changing the colors of the flares, but the rest of the picture didn´t need any retouch. One thing to have into account, if that your friend holding the flare is moving then she/he won´t appear in the picture, but if he/she is static then some part of the body might pop out in the shot, so keep on moving.
The other picture I got the inspiration from one course I was watching on creativeLive.com, there they were showing how to paint something with light, not to draw with light, but to paint and existing object. Instead of using a flash to iluminate an object, they were using a torch and moving it around the object to light it. The result was that the object was recieving light from all the angles that the torch was going. For this shot I also got a friend to use the torch and instruct them to keep moving around the object with the torch. Then I set my tripod and an exposure of 5 seconds, ISO 100 and f2.8 and start shooting. The results need improvements, but I like the idea.
These are great exercises for the long and dark winter days