Reflective And Refractive

A long exposure Light Painting photograph showing a metal chalice.

Long exposure photograph Chalice Of Light © 2017.


To start with, my heart goes out to all of those affected, hurt and killed by the bombing in Manchester this week. Targeting innocent children, women and men is a shameful act of cowardice.

This week I have been a little less productive than I had originally planned. Our landlord has been updating the kitchen, so my work area has become a dumping ground for appliances and the contents of our cupboards. Not only that, but there’s dust everywhere too and that’s not great for my customer’s new acrylic painting. So that’s been stored somewhere safe for now. However I have been productive in other ways this week.

My daughter Lauren and I visited East Calder Primary school and met with class P7S and their teacher Mrs Stewart. Lauren and I were nervous at first but the class were very well behaved and that certainly helped to calm our nerves. The purpose of our visit was to introduce the class to the long exposure photography technique of Light Painting.

In previous blog entries I have shown examples of light painting. In my second blog entry I wrote about borrowing my son’s Kylo Ren figure to do some Light Painting. In my third blog the image I used was created, in part, by using light Painting photography techniques. However, for those of you unfamiliar with the art form, here’s a little on what Light Painting is.

A long exposure Light Painting photograph.

Long Exposure photograph created by one of the P7 kids Light Painting 1 © 2017.


Light Painting is a fun and creative photography technique. It is usually created in low light, or even in complete darkness. Then one or more light sources, such as torches are introduced and moved around and this movement gets captured in the camera. The technique is fun, creative and requires just a few tools. The tools we need are a camera with a manual function (we need this to pick our shutter speed), a tripod or stable surface to hold or sit the camera still and your light sources. Torches, car lights, flashes, glow sticks and glow wires are just some of the light sources which can produce great results.

One thing that I mentioned to P7S that I think you should all be aware of if you intend on doing light painting is safety. Because Light Painting is often done in low light or darkness it can be easy to trip over something. So please make sure you are aware of your surroundings and that you have plenty of space to work in. If you work in pairs or groups, please make sure you don't bash into each other or hit each other, especially where big swinging arm movements are involved.

A long exposure Light Painting photograph showing a bottle of water and refraction.

Long Exposure photograph Bottle Of Light © 2017.


My favourite science back when I was in school was physics and, conveniently, the class had just done a science topic on light. So I was pleased to be able to show, in action, some reflections and refractions of light using Light Painting. The above photo is our example of refracted light. To create it, Lauren placed a plastic bottle of water on one of the chairs. I set up the camera to a 1 second shutter speed and took a photo as Lauren waved a torch behind the bottle. See how the light bends and changes shape as it passes through the bottle?

See the photo at the start of this blog for our example of reflected light. To create it, Lauren placed the metal chalice on a chair and reflected light from the front this time. See how it bounces back in a number if directions due to the chalice's shape?

Another thing we talked about is make-shift light painting tools, but I'll save that subject for another blog. I have more photos of the technique and some examples of the art I create from Light Painting on Facebook. Comments can be made there or any of my social media pages (see bottom right of this page). Thanks for reading.

Ronnie