Last light

As night started to settle in at the aforementioned  Wyman Meinzer workshop, this was our first attempt at light painting at Ft. Griffin.

last light/first shots

For me, it was interesting to see how Wyman set up the shot, and then the settings that he used in camera.  They were quite a contrast to the settings I had used to get the shot at Big Bend NP earlier this year, which you can see here.   At that time, I was shooting at 20 seconds,  2.8/f and 1250 ISO out of my Canon 7D.

Contrast that with Wyman’s settings of 15 seconds (granted, in the above image there was a lot more light than the Big Bend setting), 5.6/f  and ISO 100.

As I was just one participant in the workshop, there wasn’t time for me to sit and fiddle around with different settings and do a compare/contrast with the higher vs. lower ISOs.  The 7D has very good high ISO capability, so I’d be interested to do a side by side comparison to see which one looks best to me!


~ by Derrick Birdsall on May 9, 2011.

20 Responses to “Last light”

  1. That is an absolutely stunning photograph. Great post.


  2. Derrick, when you’re shooting at high ISOs, do you use the noise reduction in the camera, or deal with it in post-processing, e.g. Lightroom or Photoshop?

    • Hey Ken, thanks for stopping by! I have the noise reduction setting on high in the camera. If you were set up close to me at the workshop you would have seen the camera chugging along much slower than everyone elses…. I believe as a result of the noise processing. If needed I will do a little bit of noise reduction in lightroom as well but I have a rule of thumb that if it takes more than a minute or two in post, I’m not messing with it!

  3. Awesome stuff, Mr. B! Did everyone take turns using one large light source to create these? I’ve tried something similar (on a much smaller scale), but I was not nearly this successful. Clearly I need lots of practice, because these effects are amazing!

    • The way the workshop panned out, everyone got into a line. Fortunately for me, it worked out – I like to shoot stuff like this from the corners, and everyone else was happy to shoot off to the side of me, towards the walls of the building. While we were set up, Wyman busted his butt running around us and the buildings with a big hand held spotlight. Not every day you’ve got the “official state photographer” running around in the dark for your benefit!

  4. Derrick, I had mine turned off since we were shooting at ISO 100 and 400. I usually keep it off so I don’t have to wait on it. Noise reduction in Lightroom is really easy and quick. It’s about the only thing I do other than crop occasionally. Like you, I’m interested in trying some light paintings at higher ISOs and shorter exposures to eliminate the star trails. It will be interesting to see if I can manage the noise well enough to make that work.

    • Indeed! I don’t really like the star trails very much; I like to keep things “as they were” as much as possible. I’m going to try and head back out to Griffin at some point and experiment some more!!

  5. Gorgeous image! Colors, composition, lighting are just perfect!

    MRI results?? Good news/bad news??

    • Hey girl! Thanks very much, it was a great night – made more nifty for me by the huge thunderstorm well off in the distance behind us. Nothing like being on top of a very large hill working on light painting of historic structures while listening to the sound of thunder across the plains!

      FINALLY got word back on the MRI today. Mild tear (if this is a mild one, I’d hate to see a bad one!) that will heal up fine in time.

      Thanks for checking!

  6. Beautiful shot, man. The lighting, and especially the simplicity of the arrangement are superb. Good stuff.

  7. WOW!

  8. I’m speechless. What a gorgeous shot! The building was a perfect choice for a night shot. I’m really inspired to try to find something here although I have no idea how to light paint.


    • It’s not difficult at all, Sharon – if a goofball like me can do it, anyone can! The main thing is just trial and error, and then having somewhere truly DARK to take the image. It’s rather self defeating if you have a lot of ambient light around, and it messes with the image quality quite a bit!

      I just might do a “how to” – all you really need is a light source – and I’ve used everything from a simple flashlight, to an oil lantern and Wyman used a big huge spotlight he bought at Wal-Mart I think!

  9. The light is amazing!

  10. greetings by

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