Kitchen Night Photography

Light Painting the dripping faucet

Last Night I set up my tripod and my camera rotation device in front of my kitchen sink. In my head, the images looked already really cool for months. Yesterday was the night to see if my idea works.

The idea was to light paint dripping water like a little waterfall and rotating it during the exposure. The hope was to get some regular feel with a coincidental aspect of the random water droplets. Flashing/strobing regular the water stream and rotate the camera at the same time. So yes that's what you see. The water reflects the flashlight strobe and hopefully, I can freeze a couple of individual droplets as well as a water stream shape.

All the following shots were taken with the same F-Stop F22 and ISO 50.
Let us have a look at the results first:


The exposure time then depended on the time it took me to flash the water and rotate the camera with the other hand. For some shots, I would also add some red or and blue to make it a bit more interesting.

The first shot is a 26-second long exposure. This is not the first image I took but I thought I feature that as the main image because it has color ;-)

For the color effect, I added randomly some colors from the side and the top with two other flashlights. The flashlight that was doing the strobe was laying on the side doing its thing. With one hand I would rotate the camera and with the other, I would place the colors and then keep rotating and repeat.

The second shot is a more continuous 19-seconds exposure shot. So I keep rotating in a regular manner. No colors.


What you see here is not a complete 360° camera rotation but an approximate 270° I would say. This was not measured. This is me rotating it by hand no motor or measurements. Just gut feeling.

This shot is actually my favorite of the two. Simplistic enough and the shape is compelling.

The third one is also very nice. 32 seconds rotation with continuous rotation and some stops for color. No idea where the yellowish tint comes from. I suspect it's an issue with the white balance. I see that effect sometimes when I start the shot with one color and use others later. The initial measurement of the sensor is then not valid for what comes next.


The Setup


Behind the faucet, I placed a blackboard so I would not reflect in the glass that is behind the sink. Then turn off the kitchen lights and get the composition right.

If you have a closer look here, you can see that the light is coming from a 90° angle from the side. That's the flashlight in strobe mode. In live mode, I started focusing on the water drops. With F22 I hoped it would be nice and crisp in the shots. That effect did not play out so nicely as I hoped because the flash is not as strong and fast as the water was flowing.

Room for improvement for the next experiments. Maybe I do this in the shower ;-)

As always what you see as Light Painting images are not composites. These are all single long-exposure photographs.

I hope it was informative and maybe also somewhat inspirational. If you have more questions please do not hesitate. I am happy to share my knowledge.

Gunnar Heilmann Photogrpahy

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