Creat ive techniques Draw in the darkness
Jason Parnell-Brookes shows you how to sketch with light using your surroundings as the canvas
Christmas is a great time to try your hand a sketching with light, especially if you have a few little helpers to hand. Sketching with light is done by moving a light source (in our case, a small pen light) around while taking a long exposure photo. The movement of the light is captured as a distinct trail, and by ‘drawing’ with the light you can create a simple sketch, such as our woodland scene here.
You can do this indoors, but we decided to head outside to give us lots of space to move around. You also need to work in the dark, partly so you can see the light trails, but also so you can set an exposure long enough to capture them. That said, it’s best to head out before it gets dark, so you can scout the location and work out a rough composition first.
You’ll also need a wide-angle lens to give you lots of room in the frame, and a tripod to keep everything sharp. And to avoid you (or your artist) showing up in the photo, you’ll need to wear dark clothing; this, in combination with a long shutter speed blurring the movement, means you shouldn’t be in one place long enough to show up in the final image.