Rain of Fire | Light Painting

Posted by on Apr 23, 2011 in Blog, Mine, Techniques | 4 Comments

One of my good friends Jon and I have always talked about going to each other’s houses to practice photo techniques. This past Friday we decided to finally make it happen and practice some light painting. Jon’s been into light painting for a while so he has an assortment of lights to use. We decided to just practice the techniques in his backyard so later we can bring them to more exotic locations. Chau and I came over armed with our camera, flashes, and sparklers for a fun filled night with Jon and his wife Kelly.

Since this was a technique shoot this will be a technique post where I’ll explain how we built our shots. Enjoy!

For this first shot we wanted to recreate this awesome light painting shot Chau found online: http://sbarrette.blogspot.com/2009/12/light-painting.html. Our best guess to how it was created was a flash behind the guy bouncing off the inside of the umbrella and somebody behind creating up and down lines with a sparkler. So the first thing I did was nail down my lights. This is a test shot with a simple flash behind Chau bouncing off the inside of the umbrella.

This looked pretty good except for the raccoon eyes but was proving a little difficult for Chau to hold the umbrella at exactly the right position especially when trying to light two people underneath which is what we wanted. So I decided to make it easier and provide a bit of fill. I set up a quick grid spotted flash on a light stand to camera right and here’s what it looked like.

Now this is better and much easier for us to maintain this level of lighting. Now our next step was to create our hellfire rain storm. To do this we had Jon light a sparkler and move across the frame moving the sparkler up and down. I gave Jon 25 seconds to create his rain of fire and this is what came about.

Sweet! Chau looks pretty scared of that hot fire! Now we’re ready for some fun. Here’s Chau and I giving our best doomsday looks.

Kudo’s to Jon for making sure the fire touched my back! Nice detail! And now here’s Jon and Kelly looking terrified of the hot fire!

Now we’re onto our next technique. Jon had some flexible light tubes that didn’t burn as bright so when you moved them quickly across the frame it’d create an illusion of smoke. Since we already had our lighting down we decided to give it a go. I gave Jon 20 seconds and he moved across the frame looking like a spastic monkey man in the process (sorry no picture of that =]). Here’s what came about.

Looks like smoke! Pretty cool! So we then decided to combine the two techniques into one. Here’s a shot of Jon and Kelly with the rain of fire and some red smoke for added dramatic effect. It was Chau’s turn to be the spastic monkey for this shot while I rained down the flames.

Now there’s the terrified I’m in the depths of hell face I was looking for Jon! It’s a little busy for my tastes but still cool! So now we can add two more tricks to our bag of techniques. We’ll definitely be bringing these out to a location photo shoot one of these days.

Stay tuned for the next light painting post where you’ll see Jon and I doing our best Tron impressions!

  • http://rossstovall.com Ross Stovall

    thanks sebastien!

  • Sébastien Barrette

    What you’ve done is amazing.  I love the step by step picture taken and explained 😉  

  • http://rossstovall.com Ross Stovall

    thanks!  you should definitely give it a try!

  • Deardrpatel

    Really cool Ross, I’ll have to try and recreate this once I can afford light. :O)