Shooting Challenge #22 (Drawing With Light) - The Winner Is...

By Martin Snelling on at

In the last Shooting Challenge, we set you the task of creating a photographic light painting; the photographic technique where pictures are created by moving a light or series of lights in front of a camera. While simple in concept, light painting can be incredibly time-consuming, and so I thank everyone who took time to send in their images.

There were some high quality submissions this week, and picking an overall winner wasn't easy. Taking into consideration the final image as well as technique, it gives me great pleasure to announce that this week's Shooting Challenge winner and recipient of £500 worth of Victorinox goodies is Dhinakaran Annamalai for his colourful creation. Not only did Dhina spend a considerable amount of time and effort creating his visual masterpiece, he also took the time to write the process down (which is something we like to see at Giz).

So how did Dhina create it? Read on...

Camera Kit: CANON EOS 60D, EFS 18-135mm, Wired shutter release

Settings: Manual Mode, Exposure Time: 30.0s, Aperture: 5.6, ISO: 100

Gadgets used:

- For Text Painting: HTC Desire HD , Android app: Dr. Light (animation speed for text set to 43 and color set to Green)

- For background color fusion: Red, White, Green, Blue - LED finger ring glow lights (Ebay link)

- For Wave effect: Neon Light Glow Strip wire (Ebay link)


- Set the flower vase on the glass table with the glow strip wire in - switched off.

- Kept Dr. Light app launched, ready for text animation on touch. Ring glow lights strapped on my fingers and turned off.

- Set the camera settings and fired (30 secs exposure), simultaneously starting the text animation on phone

- When animation done, quickly put the phone down, turned on the strip glow wire and waved for few seconds before taking it off the vase. Did some waves outside as well on random.

- Now time for background painting. Turned on all the finger LED lights and flashed over the wall making very slight movement to get proper color fusion.

All the 3 activities I did (glow wire waving, text animation & background color fusion), took quite a lot of time & effort to get right coordination. Choosing one of out approx 600 photos was the hardest part :)

Post-process: Lightroom 4.4 - Minor global edits like contrast. Cropped few pixels at the bottom using PSP X5.

Honourable mentions must also go to the following:

Patrick Raven - I really love the minimalist style.

Stephen Dean - For making me laugh with a dinosaur.

Mike Longford - A good strong composition and colour combination.

Luke Thompson - For trying something a bit different to the norm.

David Gilliver - Clearly knows what he's doing and I know is no stranger to light painting photography.

You can see all of the light-painted images over on Flickr; go check 'em out and tell us which one you like best, wontcha?

Thanks as always to everyone who took the time to create their images -- you're all fantastic and bloody creative to boot. There'll be another Shooting Challenge next week.