Lonely Darkroom: Light Painting Revisited

Here’s a nocturnal urban landscape I shot at Sydney’s Middle Head Fort using creative light painting techniques back in 2009.

I had never published it until now.

Lonely Darkroom

Lonely Darkroom

To create this image I used a combination of fluorescent white light and a red cold cathode light to illuminate the bunker in the night sky to create an eerie and dramatic effect.

The image is a composite of four images, all shot with a Canon EOS 5D and 16-35mm f/2.8 lens for 30 seconds at f/5.6 and ISO 200.

One image was created with a powerful fluorescent light, which bathed the scene in white light to reveal details; the remaining three exposures were made while I wandered in and around the bunker, shining rich red light on parts of the concrete with a cold cathode light.

I needed to be careful as I moved throughout the scene, ensuring that the source of the light remained hidden from the camera’s view so that bright, distracting trails and hot spots were avoided, leaving only the red glow.  Because I was moving and hiding inside the bunker, the long exposure prevented the camera from capturing ghosted images of me in the scene.

Post-processing in Adobe Photoshop CS4 consisted of raw conversion, manual blending of the four exposures using layers and masks, minor cloning of hot spots, vignetting, mild desaturation and colour adjustment in the sky area.

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