A little while back I was capturing some images for a macro photography seminar and I was thinking of some different ways to light my subjects, which in this case was a variety of flowers. At first I headed outside with a diffusion panel and some reflectors to work with the natural sunlight. Then I headed back inside to work with some nice soft window light, using sheer curtains as a diffuser. After capturing some nice traditionally lit images I decided to change things up a bit and started to capture some images by painting with light, using an old maglite flashlight in a completely dark studio. The image above was captured by painting with light, but with a small twist.
Photography is defined as "Drawing with Light" and in this image that is a literal definition, I used a maglite flashlight as my sole light source and "drew" the light where I wanted it. First, with the lights on I set up my subject (the flower) on a black background sweep, I set up my camera on a tripod and framed then focused the camera on the flower. I then set my camera using the Tamron 180mm 1:1 Macro lens to F/22 with a shutter speed of 30 seconds and an ISO of 200. Next I turned off all the lights, with flashlight in hand so I could see what I was doing. I fired the cameras shutter using a release cable (to prevent camera shake). Once the shutter was released I started to paint/draw the flower with light, continuously moving the light across the flower. Making sure not to stop in one spot for too long which would cause a hot spot in the final image. My first few shots were taken by painting the light only on the front of the flower, which looked nice, but wasn't what I was looking for. The small twist with this image was that for most of the 30 second exposure I was backlighting the flower to make it glow and only about 5 seconds of painting of light on the front red center of the flower to make sure I get some detail there as well. This is a fun way to capture some really unique looking images of flowers, just remember there will be some trial and error to getting the correct setting on your camera and how and where you want the light on your subject.