three . six . five [012] Cars at Midnight

Late last night I was in my kitchen grubbing out on a midnight snack. As I ate, I noticed son’s toy cars on our glass dinner table. I stared for a while and from my angle there was as nice reflection coming off the table surface and thought it would make for a good picture, so I grabbed my camera and mounted it to my tripod, threw my SB-600 in CLS mode and ended up with this:

This image was taken with Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-S
Exposure settings: 1/15 sec @ f/2.2 – ISO400

The shot was a little plain, and you can notice that the DOF is shallow enough that the back ends of the cars are out of focus. So I stopped down the aperture to f/5.6, and also added some lights in the back, I figured an image could always use a little bokeh! So I grabbed some old rope lights, strung them up several feet behind the cars and shot this:

This image was taken with Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-S
Exposure settings: 1/15 sec @ f/5.6 – ISO400

Then I said, how cool would it be to do some light painting with this? This is where it became a challenge. I wanted to keep the same aperture as I was happy with the bokeh from the rope lights. However, to do light painting you need a slow shutter speed.  I opted for 10 seconds, but at f/5.6 this would overexpose the shot too much. I think in order to achieve nice out of focus bokeh AND some cool light painting effects you need some density filters to cut down the amount of light getting into the camera. So I had to stop down all the way to f/16 in order to do some light painting without over exposing the shot. Here are the results:

This image was taken with Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-S
Exposure settings: 10 sec @ f/16 – ISO100

I used my iPhone’s flash to do the light painting, next time I’ll use a smaller light that is more easier to maneuver. Light painting is really fun and I will be sure to do more projects like this in the future.

This image was taken with Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-S
Exposure settings: 10 sec @ f/16 – ISO100

I got the “spotlights” by briefly turning on the iPhone flashlight with it pointed directly at the camera. The pointed star effect on the lights are an artifact from the high aperture used. So if you ever want that look from the sun or streetlights (called the “sun star” effect) bump up your aperture! (Yes that was a TIP!) Here are a few more shots from my little “project”. Next time I may use a person as a subject, and will use different colored lights.

This image was taken with Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-S
Exposure settings: 10 sec @ f/16 – ISO100

This image was taken with Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 AF-S
Exposure settings: 10 sec @ f/16 – ISO100

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