Painting with Light

I am learning from Nalinki and her gorgeous photos and tips, explained in her post Available Lighthow to paint with light in photography. In fact it is about practicing with long exposure and zooming in.

I was supposed to take a tripod and get somewhere steady, not on a boat, to start my learning session. As I was readying myself, my husband and I decided to go for a boat ride instead, as it was a gorgeous evening with warm temps, those that we rarely experience and cannot miss in Amsterdam.

Change of plans.

Just for fun, I played with light, as suggested by Nalinki and fulfilled my hidden dream to be an abstract painter. Just kidding!

Now I will take through my experimentations.

First try

The first two shots I made after sunset and still got the gorgeous pink colors in the sky. No post processing here to get the pink color, just what the Olympus E-M10 can do. I just let the boat move and waited for the results.

I made the third and fourth photos in the same way.

I played a bit with the camera though, in the last two shots. In the first one I moved the camera, like panning. For the second one I zoomed after a few seconds. The first white ball is the moon, by the way.

Second try

The next two ones are different. Still on the boat, but we stopped it and I tried to do panning handheld.

60mm F10 1/3 sec
60 mm F2.8 1/8sec

Final try

It was a nice evening playing with light on the boat but I still hadn’t done what I wanted. So we went out another day to shoot a bridge close by. Tripod was at hand and no boat was part of the adventure this time.

I first shot the bridge. Then I zoomed it once. Then 3 times. Then I did panning and to close the play I tilted the camera. The last tow shots just for fun.

So, please don’t take me seriously as I was just learning to paint with light with low shutter speed.

Making the photos from a boat, by no means is a try to make a statement that I don’t care about technique. I am learning to do that because I find it so beautiful and want to do it right.

Till my next try.

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Sharing sights & insights captured with diverse angles. Ex-corporate, now my own boss. Cycling, hiking, cooking, reading, yoga, writing and photography, are no longer only hobbies listed on my resume. It's what I do when I want.

74 thoughts on “Painting with Light

  1. I love the handheld panning shots–I can’t wait to try that. I don’t have a tripod…… As for the last picture–the white moon ball….I think you made an abstract painting! It is awesome!


  2. These are such lovely photos, Lucile. So what if you were playing and if you are still learning…they are so fun and show that, even if you still have a lot to learn, you are already very much a skilled photographer in many ways. I love the way the light blurs in many of these. It adds a unique and artsy touch to each photo.


  3. Love the abstract painting effect. I tried to do some night sky shots in the national park without any light Pollution in complete darkness. suddenly, there was an unkown noise (probably a deer, but I did not think logically in that second). I jumped up and ran back to the car. maybe, I have seen too many horror movies ….


    1. I thought that zooming in more times, although producing a very cool effect, requires really a super steady hand, even with a tripod, as it can blur a bit.
      That’s why I also liked better the same as yours.
      There were some shots of 5 times zoom that turned super beautiful with effects, including star effects, but I didn’t post them.
      It’s so much fun doing it, and I’m sure you’ll like it.
      Just a little tip: find building place with plenty of light and go not too late in the evening. It was too dark around the bridge and the photo gets a bit dull.


  4. Looks like you had a great time trying these techniques! Love the zooming once of the bridge and that first shot with the pink sky is so beautifully abstract. Experimenting with photography is so great!


  5. I absolutely love these, shots, Lucile! So much like a painting so interesting with the play of “smearing” the lights. I have a cheap camera but I want to try to play with this, too!


        1. Nice try, but here is my reasoning. You are writing zillion pages for your Phd thesis and therefore your mind is overly focused on literature. Your tunnel vision at the moment, does not let you see, beyond the already magnificent skills you have with words, that you have exceptional eyes and sensibility, which makes you a super duper photographer. Clear now? xxx
          PS. How are you doing, my dearest?


          1. Oh my dear, you totally outsmarted me. Now I’m somewhat worried about my argumentation skills and hope that those who’ll read my just completed dissertation will not notice that I can’t argue a thing 😉 Thank you for your kind words and greetings!


  6. Lucile, these are wonderful. I tried panning with the handheld camera once and got some great abstracts, but haven’t really done anything like these. New inspiration is always good and I also really need to learn how to use my camera beyond point and shoot. I’ve never taken the time to find out what all the bells and whistles do. 🙂



    1. Thanks much Janet! You should really take your camera and try to do some shots. You are going to love it, I am sure. If you read the posts from Nalinki and Perelincolors, and follow their tips, you will see that in a while you get the tricks and experiment more.


  7. It looks like you were having great fun taking these beautiful photos. They really do catch the eye and would look great in a frame on one of my walls. I’ve not done much photography but your photos do inspire me to go out there and take some more.


    1. Indeed I had great fun! And what a compliment! It is a very nice thing to say, Hugh.
      I am glad my photography inspired you to go out there. Do it, as you won’t regret it!
      Thanks for the considerate comment.


  8. As usual, Lucile, your photos are stunning. Your first attempt you say? Hmmm, not sure I believe that….you are truly talented and have the eye for composition as well. Can’t wait to see what you will capture when you get “good” at this, (LOL!)


    1. hahaha, it is very true! I am amazed that the ones I made from a moving boat are the ones most people like. So, as you know, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Even wen I mess up with long exposure photography, there is a possibility for someone to like it.
      So, give a try too. The most important is that we have fun.


  9. These are marvelous. (*he’s hiding the H-word in a paper bag here*)
    I love the brightness of the colors. AND, I tried taking a night shot and moving the camera, too, because I’m trying to be like you and DO stuff. And I like the way mine came out, way more “impressionistic” (meaning, unrecognizable) than yours. But still, cool.


    1. Thank you, Jo. The one you like the most is the one where I actually did something, instead of just playing with the camera. I had to learn how to do this and it was very nice and difficult at the Dave time. I hope to be able to do it again.


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