Padley Gorge in the Peak District captivated me on my first visit. Once night falls the twisted Sessile Oaks and moss covered rocks came alive. As locations for Lightpainting go, they don't come much better.
It takes me about an hour to get there from home and this gives me ample time to formulate a plan of what I want to create when it gets dark enough.
Usually I shoot a particular area at Padley, inside a tunnel of the twisted Oaks but on this occasion I decided to photograph the other side of the river, to focus on a more expansive vista and this rather imposing tree.
I set my tripod down and framed my shot, insuring that my figure would appear in the bottom right hand third of the frame. Next I placed 3 high power torches around the scene, out of sight of the camera which illuminated the different areas to my satisfaction. This has an element of trial and error so lots of trips back to the camera to check the coverage of light. There was a little bit of mist in the air too which separated my silhouette from the background and created some beautiful beams streaming through the foliage. I fired the camera shutter on a 10 second timer, followed by a quick dash to my position beneath the mighty tree and let the exposure burn in for 10 seconds or so whilst I held perfectly still.
Negotiating Padley Gorge in the dark is always a challenge due to the slippery and uneven floor and balancing the exposure of all of the torches was the most challenging part. Tying to ensure all of the frame was exposed correctly was a bit of a headache but I got there after many trips back and forth to the camera to see the results.
Once happy with my shot it was time to pack up my gear for the drive home.
I shoot in raw, so once I was home and the kettle had boiled I sat down and processed the image in Lightroom with a nice cup of tea. I boosted the shadows a little and knocked back the highlights but that was about that. I try to keep post processing to a minimum with my Lightpainting work, as the holy grail in this field is to achieve all you desire inside the camera without the use of photoshop.
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