May 7, 2017

Best Locations for Light Painting

Learn more about where to light paint, its different techniques and what to pack for your next outing. Don't miss your chance to enter the #ThinkProject.

lightmarking in Iceland

Light painters Lightmark experimenting with light in Iceland

We’re going to start this post with a disclaimer. We can’t tell you the best locations for light painting. But there is a reason for this.

Part of the beauty of the photographic art of light painting is the freedom and creativity inherent in the technique, so it’s up to you to find somewhere that reflects the look you are trying to create within your piece. However, we can give you some location pointers and general inspiration to help you capture the perfect shot.

The #ThinkProject

Light painting is just one of the skills we’re exploring as part of the #ThinkProject.

It’s inspired by the simple fact that we don’t want you to think about GORE-TEX® products. The less you have to concentrate on your gear, the better it is. When wearing GORE-TEX® products, you have the freedom to be fully in the moment and think about whatever it is you are feeling or doing.

Light painting in a circle
Light painting using wire wool

A reminder, what is light painting?

It’s a technique which involves moving a hand-held light source while taking a long exposure photograph. By shooting in a dark location using this technique, you can ‘paint’ incredible trails of light across the scene without the need for post-production.

There are two key types of light painting. The first is the ‘light streaks’ technique, and the second is the ‘illumination’ technique.

light painting a guitar

A guitar created using the light streaks technique

Light streaks technique

This form of light painting allows you to use your light source like a paintbrush and add distinct trails of light and bursts of colour across the image. For a full step by step guide about how to perfect this technique, visit The Beginner’s Guide to Light Painting. When it comes to locations for the light streaks technique, you can be either inside or outside – as long as background light is extremely limited.

If at home, it’s best to position yourself in a room where you will not be disturbed during your painting. Ensure any unwanted sources of light are removed (i.e. curtains closed to prevent car headlights) and find objects or areas within your room that you would like to make the feature of your painting. For example, you could try tracing around a lamp to give it an unusual illumination, or painting words or phrases around a room. Using light to add ‘human’ characteristics (i.e. eyes or hands and feet) to household objects can also be an effective technique.

Selecting more dramatic indoor locations such as caves, disused quarries and abandoned houses can also give an impressive effect. Just make sure to get any relevant permissions from the landowner and ensure you are not putting yourself in any danger.

There are also endless opportunities to use the light streaks technique outside – again, you just need to ensure background light is kept to a minimum, so you will need to shoot at night.

Just as when inside, the light source can be used to trace around objects outside – as inspiration, you could start by tracing around cars, park benches or even people. However, the light source can also be used to add an extra ‘sparkle’ to a natural setting. Woods, waterfalls and mountain ranges can provide incredible settings, but just think creatively and beautiful paintings can also be made closer to home.

Dry Falls light painting

Light painting at Dry Falls in Highlands, North Carolina, using illumination technique

Illumination technique

This light painting method creates a different effect, with the light source being used to illuminate a wide area of the photograph rather than purely a trail of light. To try the illumination technique, open your camera’s shutter and shine your torch for a few seconds on the objects or areas you would like to be doused with light.

Again, this technique can be effectively used inside or outside. If outside, you can use the illumination technique to light up specific objects or areas within a scene. Although the possibilities are endless, this could involve lighting up a specific tree in woodland, an abandoned car in a field, or a set of swings in a park. Breathing life into certain objects within the picture while leaving the background in the dark can have an almost gothic effect – extremely different in nature to the neon-light style effect achieved by the light streaks technique.

blue hiking boots

Light painting: What to wear

Part of the beauty of light painting is that it can take you to unusual and unexplored locations, meaning it’s essential your clothing will not let you down.

GORE-TEX® shoes engineered with SURROUND® product technology offer 360-degree climate comfort for your feet. They are highly breathable all-around without compromising on durable waterproof protection. Whether you’re chasing the perfect shot in unexplored and uneven ground, or are a little closer to home, they offer the ultimate protection and comfort for your feet.

 

Adidas Terrex Fast Mid SURROUND
Adidas Terrex Fast Mid GORE-TEX® SURROUND®

Hiking for your shot? Try products such as the Adidas Terrex Fast Mid GORE-TEX® SURROUND®. Keeping it closer to home? Look out for more casual styles like the Ecco Cool 2.0 GORE-TEX® SURROUND® !

Get yourself ready for your light painting adventure by exploring our SURROUND footwear here.

 Have you tried light painting? Let us know your favourite locations in the comments below!

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