STE P BY STE P / Let it glow!
1 Use a tripod
Wait for near-dark then set up on a tripod. It can be hard to get the framing right, so compose loosely. You don’t want the lens hunting to focus, so pre-focus on a point in the scene and then switch to manual focus to lock it. Take care when shooting in the dark near deep water.
2 Set Bulb mode
The shutter speed on a Nikon maxes out at 30 seconds, which isn’t long enough when you’re fumbling around with torches in the dark. So set Manual Mode and dial the shutter speed down to Bulb. This way the shutter stays open for as long as the shutter button is engaged.
3 Attach a shutter release
Use a remote release to lock open the exposure – either a cable release or a wireless one like this Hahnel release. Alternatively, if your Nikon has Wi-Fi, you could use your smartphone app. Start and end the bulb exposure remotely while concentrating on the light painting.
4 Take a test shot
Your aperture and ISO depend on the strength of your torches and ambient light. Use test shots to work it out; start at ISO100 and aperture f/8, begin an exposure and shine your lights. If it’s too dark, open the aperture or bump up the ISO. If it’s too light, do the opposite.
5 Make your own kit
There are specialist light painting products out there, but you probably have items at home that will work well. We used a couple of coloured cups and shone torches through each. We taped these to a tripod leg (but any stick or pole would work), which we swung to and fro.
6 Create sinister figures
Creating sinister-looking silhouette figures like the one on the previous page is fun. All you need to do is move the lights behind a person while they stand perfectly still. Next, flash a light twice through a green coloured cup in front of their face to create the glowing eyes.