9 creative photo ideas to try in May 2013

01 Shoot creative spring light painting effects

As part of our ongoing series to help you get more creative with your digital camera, each month we publish some fun, seasonal, creative photo ideas to help inspire your imagination. Along with some amazing images, we’ve also provided some quick photography tips by both amateur and professional photographers who are experts in these fields.

This month our list covers fun projects like shooting long exposures, puddles, stormy seas and painterly plant portraits, among many other fun and creative photography projects.

On each page you’ll find a stunning image and an explanation from the photographer on how it was made.

If you attempt any of these photo ideas, don’t forget to share them on our Facebook wall!

01 Shoot creative spring light painting effects

01 Shoot creative spring light painting effects

Light painting photography doesn’t have to be restricted to the longer nights of winter. As spring arrives, why not make the most of the milder evenings with this clever twist on a familiar technique?

Simon Berger created his ‘Pouring Rain Noir’ shot after seeing a tutorial on steel wool light painting and experimenting with the technique. It was taken using nothing more than a tripod-mounted Canon EOS 5D Mark III, a willing model (Martin) and some burning steel wool.

“We used ordinary ‘0000’ steel wool for this shot,” says Simon. “To control the direction of the sparks, I rotated the 
steel wool towards the camera and Martin, and  the sparks bounced from the ceiling onto the umbrella.”

The technique is pretty simple. By placing steel wool in a metal whisk suspended at the end of a chain, igniting the steel wool with 
a 9V battery and then spinning the chain, you can create impressive arcs of sparks using a long exposure. Of course there are risks, and it needs to be carried out well away from anything flammable.

“The umbrella we used was a really cheap one,” Simon says. “We had some bottles of water, but the shooting took place in a tunnel so there was no real danger of anything catching fire. I knew I wanted the sparks to look like rain, but I had no idea how to do it until I found this location. Then it just clicked.”

Get started today…
* Safety warning! Spinning molten steel wool at the end of a chain carries a high risk of injury. Don’t attempt it alone and make sure you wear goggles, gloves and suitable protective clothing. Protect the front element of your lens with a clear UV filter.
* Experiment with exposure times. Simon used an aperture of f/8 and shutter speed of 20 seconds at ISO200.
* Consider converting the original colour shot to black and white for added intrigue.

PAGE 1: Shoot creative spring light painting effects
PAGE 2: Shoot painterly plant portraits
PAGE 3: Shoot the beach during a spring storm
PAGE 4: Shoot zoo animals with environmental context
PAGE 5: Shoot reflections in puddles
PAGE 6: Shoot plane trails
PAGE 7: Shoot portraits with reflections
PAGE 8: Shoot water birds at your local pond
PAGE 9: Shoot images with motion blur


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