A Finnish photographer has created one of the most incredible light painting photographs we've ever seen, depicting a pair of swans facing each other at dusk.
Painting with light is one of the most creative – and potentially most convoluted – techniques in photography. Making an image as intricate as this could require hours upon hours of trial and error. However, this photographer has a secret weapon up his sleeve: the Live Composite feature found exclusively on Olympus cameras.
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Traditional light painting relies on you painting blind, as you're essentially shooting a long exposure photograph and waving a light around hoping that the end result will look something like you intended – but you have no idea what it will look like until the exposure is finished.
With an Olympus camera, though (and it looks like Huhtamo is using the flagship Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III (opens in new tab)), the Live Composite function gives you a real-time view of what you're painting, as you're painting it. You can see the feature in action in the clip below:
It's a clever it of computational photography that only adds brighter areas of light to the exposure – so instead of the entire image getting brighter (as it would with a usual long exposure), only the light-painted parts of the scene gets brighter.
"Olympus cameras have a unique feature called Live Composite mode that allows you to set the base exposure time and then the camera stacks several frames (exposures) into a one image in real time," explains Huhtamo (opens in new tab).
"I wear black clothes and I'm constantly moving during the exposure. With Live Composite you can also avoid over exposed images. Camera will pick up changes in a light only if the next frame has brighter parts than the previous frame had. No Photoshop or any other post processing, straight out of the camera."
This stunning shot, titled Serenity, was captured at Lake Saimaa in southeastern Finland. "Last night I just had to do some light drawing in front of this amazing scene. Mosquitos all over me and small baby perches were nibbling my toes as I stood in water with bare feet. Thanks to my wife Sanna for the behind the scenes video clip!"
Live Composite isn't just limited to the flagship camera – it's available on everything from the workhorse Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III (opens in new tab) to the new entry level Olympus PEN E-P7 (opens in new tab),