December 19, 2008

O Christmas Tree

Have you ever heard of Light Painting?
It's a lot of fun and the results are unpredictable — which is just one part of the fun.

One result I did NOT expect was to have my photos featured on another blog — and not just any other blog — Robert Lachman's Photography and the photography site! I was very honored when he asked me if he could use my photos in a slide show on his site for a post on Improving Your Holiday Photos. Robert gives great tips about photography and his blog has really been inspiring me lately to dip back into my passion for the art. Robert's impressive history and experience with the art of photography really shows in the unique moments in time he's captured throughout the years. Check out his portfolio.

My Christmas Tree Became a Paintbrush
The other week I was pretty proud of how nicely our tree turned out this year after I decorated it and I wanted to photograph it all lit up. I love the way it looks in the middle of the night, when I'm still up finishing up tasks around the house. Everything is quiet and it's just me and our Christmas Tree. (I never imagined how hard it would be to get stuff done around the house with a toddler constantly under your feet at all times!) I waited till Nate and Lucian went to bed and set up my trusty old tripod and started to experiment with the settings on our little old point-and-shoot digital camera.

Fireworks are an example of "painting with light." It is tricky to get really good photos of fireworks because it involves longer shutter speeds and having the correct exposure for low light. If you've ever tried to take pictures of fireworks using the standard setting on your point and shoot camera, then you know what I mean.

Here are some examples of my process.

Here is your average, ordinary shot of child in front of Christmas Tree. Boring. Not very lively or expressive.

Here is almost the same shot only this time, it's lit up. See the difference?

Dancing With Lights
Here is where I had some fun with my Christmas Tree decor! This is my favorite shot. You can click on the link below to check out the rest of the album and also read the captions. I basically experimented with different movements of my camera while the shutter was open and "recording" the light show. Sometimes I kept the tripod stationery on the ground and just moved or jiggled the legs or adjusted the handle to change the angle. Other times I picked up the whole tripod and just moved it around.

From O Christmas Tree

Here is an embedded slide show of all of the photos I took that night and the experimentation with different movements while leaving the shutter open for longer exposure times. I've written details about the shots in the captions.