Remember using a Spirograph as a kid? No?! Well then, I'm probably much older than you. But let's not get off topic here.
I created these using a swinging light and an open shutter. I follow a few too many photo tip sites to tell you where I saw this, but that tutorial was calling it a parabola, which this isn't. (I got a "C" in physics to argue his claim.)
- First? You're gonna need a manual remote. If you don't have one, click off this page and move along because you cannot yet snatch the pebble from my hand, grasshopper. (Oops, another 70's reference.)
- Tie a small flashlight to the end of a string, and the string to something 8-10' above you. I went with a small penlight keychain attached to a light fixture.
- If you've attempted night shots before, set your camera to the same settings. A low ISO, f-stop round 11-16, and a manual setting to "bulb mode." I'm just going to send you here if you'd like to find out more, to avoid me posting a lengthy "how-to." Your camera's manual would be of some help too.
- Either put your camera on a tripod or the ground (if it's safe and clean enough for you), directly below the light source. Distant depends on your lens. If your light is heavier then a tiny keychain light, make sure you tied it securely!
- Turn the small light on and all other lights off. Did I mention it should be after dark? Because it should.
- Give your light a good swing! Back and forth will get you a pendulum effect, and a circle will get you, um, a circle (I know, right?). Try to go somewhere in between to achieve the spirograph effect. Stand right behind the string at 6:00 and aim for 2:00 or 10:00. Also be sure to move because funny thing is, that light comes back to 6. Let it swing once or twice to take the wobbles out. Then press your shutter, leaving it open for 30 seconds more or less.
Basically, try different settings and longer or shorter lengths, or try a different angle with the camera and attempt some bokeh! (Ow, wish I'd have thought of that when I was all set up.) My little experiment here is no where near as cool as some examples I saw. People were using colored light and one guy had some type of strobe. That was pretty awesome!
Now google "light painting" and say goodbye to rest-filled nights, because once you're addicted, you're never......gonna.............zzzzzzzzzzzz.