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Light Painted Orchid

Orchitd blooms in front of black background.

Orchid blooms illuminated by painting with a penlight.

It’s interesting to discover what is possible with a little experimentation.   The orchid here was sitting on a countertop in a dark room, with a black piece of cardboard behind.   The camera was on a tripod,  set on “B” for bulb.   With a cable release the shutter was tripped, and a small penlight used to paint the orchid with light.   With modern digital cameras you can experiment at will with both exposure time, and the way you use the light.    This particular frame was shot at f16 with an exposure time of 37 seconds.   No studio or expensive lights required.   That doesn’t mean I  didn’t wish I had a studio, just that sometimes you can get by without.

4 responses

  1. Gorgeous!! Good to see that a beautiful photo like this can be achieved without any special equipment (I just recently got into photography)!

    October 5, 2010 at 8:53 am

  2. Very creative thinking. When you “painted” the flower was the penlight in front of it all of the time, or did you angle some of the “strokes” from a position behind the flower?

    October 5, 2010 at 10:06 am

  3. Spectacular! I’m glad you shared how you achieved this shot so we could all learn from your experimentation! Great job!

    October 5, 2010 at 10:26 am

  4. Thanks to all for the comments! Wayne, as I recall I tried about every variation I could think of while ‘painting’ the orchid. I’m almost certain that this particular image was the result of probably 75 percent front lighting, 15 percent top lighting, and lets see….my math is rusty, that would leave about 10 percent backlighting. The backlighting couldn’t be directly behind the flower because the penlight itself would leave a major hotspot if shining directly into the camera. Anyhow, I was waving the light all over so this is just my best guess. Thanks again.

    October 5, 2010 at 3:59 pm

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