How to write with light

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 Shoot­ing setup

You’ll need to pop your cam­era on a tri­pod as the ex­po­sure will be sev­eral sec­onds long. If shoot­ing solo, you can fire the shut­ter with a re­mote re­lease, or use the self-timer op­tion to give you enough time to dash into po­si­tion be­fore the ex­po­sure starts.

3 Get fo­cused

Pre-fo­cus on where the sparklers are go­ing to be. Aut­o­fo­cus can be tricky in the dark, so you may find it eas­ier to switch to Live View. How­ever you fo­cus, you’ll need to switch to Man­ual fo­cus be­fore shoot­ing so the cam­era doesn’t at­tempt to re­fo­cus and miss the shot.

5 Draw it out

Put on gloves (for pro­tec­tion and warmth), light the sparkler, fire the shut­ter and start writ­ing. It can be use­ful to place mark­ers on the floor for more elab­o­rate draw­ings. Keep the sparkler mov­ing smoothly and con­sis­tently across the frame as you write or draw.

2 Set the scene

Frame the scene so that there’s enough space for you to stand in the mid­dle and with enough room to stretch your arm and draw on ei­ther side of you. It’s best to wear dark cloth­ing and not stand too close to any­thing in the back­ground for the glow­ing sparkler to light up.

4 Cam­era set­tings

Shoot in Shut­ter Pri­or­ity or Man­ual mode so that you can set the shut­ter speed to suit the length of the word – around 10 secs is a good start. We set ISO400 as it was fully dark. Ig­nore any warn­ings of un­der­ex­po­sure – we want the back­ground to be as dark as pos­si­ble.

6 Re­view and reshoot

Re­view the shot, and tweak the shut­ter speed and com­po­si­tion if you can’t fit the en­tire word or im­age into the frame, or don’t have enough time to com­plete your mas­ter­piece. You can also ad­just the ISO or aper­ture set­ting if the sparkler trail is too dim or too bright.

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