Painting with Light Workshop

On Thursday April 9th I participated in a “Painting with Light Workshop” at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, GA. Judith Pishnery of Pisconeri Studio & Workshops brought us together for a night of photography and learning.

Photo: Our Confederate Dead

We began the night around 7pm filling out releases and donning nametags on the porch of the visitor’s center. After an introduction by Judith and some words from the cemetery staff we were left to wander the cemetery to get acquainted and take some pre-nightfall photos.

Around 8:30 Judith gave a presentation explaining how to paint with light. Although I had done some small experiments with a handheld speedlight and have written my name in the air with a flashlight before I had never “painted with light” to create a “real” photograph and I was looking forward to giving it a try.

Right away I learned that using a camera flash handheld really doesn’t put out as much light as I thought it did. Multiple flashes, 5 or 6, produced very little extra light even though each flash felt blindingly bright to me. A 6-volt camping flashlight slowly passed over a subject produces a much brighter image than a flash.

Photo: Ms. Watson

I was also surprised by the results of a small but very bright LED flashlight, which to my eyes appears very bright even if it is on the blue side of the spectrum, but to the camera’s sensor it was very dim indeed. The camping flashlight with its old-school style bulb was brighter and whiter than either LED flashlight I tried.

My best results were with using the 6-volt lantern panning it slowly first horizontally and then vertically to ensure total coverage of the subject(s) while the camera’s shutter was held open in bulb mode for as short as 20 seconds and as long as 3 minutes. Then in Lightroom I did some quick tweaking only spending some real effort on two of the photos to knock down some distracting lights.

This workshop was a lot of fun and I look forward to using what I learned in the future.

Links:

First Ride of the Season

Awhile back I got a flat rear tire caused by a damaged wheel, I must have hit a pot hole a lot harder than I remember, and it took me a couple months to get the wheel repaired and a new tire. Last weekend I took the bike out for a couple shake down runs checking the torque of the bolts keeping the tire on and brake caliper in place. After a two hour ride in the bitter cold I got home and gave the bike a good once over.

This Saturday the forecast was for a perfect riding day reaching the low seventies and I spent all week day-dreaming about riding up to Suches Georgia and break in that new tire.

After a week that felt more like a year Saturday finally came along and I got out of the house around Noon. There was still a bite to the air with the temperature somewhere in the low sixties, at eighty miles an hour the wind cut through my jeans and long-johns leaving my knees achingly cold.

By the time I get to Dahlonega though I am feeling great and can feel my face stuck in a big grin. Once I get to Porter Springs there is no traffic in front of me and it is surprisingly free riding for the next hour. Riding from Porter springs to Two Wheels Only, Vogel State Park, Turners Corner, Porter Springs, and back up to T.W.O. for lunch.

By this point I am pretty tired, but it is a very good feeling. In a couple of months a 120 mile ride like this will not tire me out so much and hopefully I will be more comfortable pushing it a little harder, leaning a little farther and getting those chicken strips off of my rear tire.

At T.W.O I eat a BBQ sandwich that fills me up for the ride home and gives me the opportunity to read an old motorcycle magazine in the dining room and a chance to sit out on the porch in a rocking chair for a bit. After eating I take a walk around the grounds to stretch my legs and take a look at the bikes parked out front. This day most of the bikes are Harleys but there are also a handful of BMWs and a couple Ducatis. As I walk up a Ducati fires up with a musical growl and I stand transfixed and just enjoy the sound for a bit. I smile large as he pulls up onto the road and away.

The ride home is uneventful; I spend much of it behind cagers putting down the road. I take the time to smell some roses and watch some of the beautiful Georgia mountain scenery roll by. The temperature is great, some of the trees are in bloom, and the traffic is lighter than expected.

All in all it is a great beginning to the riding season with many more rides to look forward to. I hope to see you out there.