Light Orbs & Zoom Burst

I went along to theLight Orb & Zoom Burst meetup over the weekend on the Southbank and we were given pointers on how to take a variety images using light tricks.

For all of these tricks your camera should be on a tripod, with a shutter release and on bulb mode.

Zoom Burst

There are several tricks to capturing a zoom burst. The most simple is to twist the zoom ring on the lens whilst holding the shutter down. This will create a series of streaks. The slower you do the turn, the more defined the streaks will be, but more of the image will also imprint. You need to move fast enough (depending on your camera settings) to capture the lights but not ruin the images with extraneous details. The next trick is to use the focus ring at the same time as the zoom. This allow you to move from sharp points of light at one end of the zoom, to wide blurry points at the other end. This gives a very stylized image. The final trick, is to use an off camera flash at either the start or close of the shutter to imprint the scene on the image sharply with the zoomed lights overlaying it. This can give an interesting ghosting effect where certain elements of the scene are well lit by the flash and so solid, and others only got a small bounce and are transparent.

Painting with Light

Painting with light is always fun. Like above, set the camera to manual bulb mode, set the shutter release and then stand in front of the lens at a good distance away with a torch or led. If you have a torch, the best option is to remove the hood so only the bulb is present as this will give you a sharper light, more like a pen, whereas a regular torch will be quite wide and diffused like a paintbrush. Good muscle memory is important to keep the image visible and simple shapes are best unless you are very talented. It is a fun thing to do, as it combines photography with more traditional art.

Light Orbs & Rails

Closely related to Painting with Light is light orbs or light rails. These are objects custom built to show a particular effect. A light orb is just a set of LEDs on the end of a cable, swung round in a loop. You then pivot on the spot to make the circle into a sphere. The faster you move around, the wider the gaps between the bars in the orb will be.

It was a brilliant evening, and has given me a lot of ideas for things I could go off and do myself. I thoroughly recommend getting out and trying it.