Following the Light

By Chong Jinn Wei - on 26 Apr 2012, 10:34am

I had always been fascinated and curious to emulate the light trail effects, especially on how it was used in popular media like games and animation, but I did not understand how shutter speed or aperture priority functioned at the time. Now I decided to try my hand at emulating this effect, since I am now more accustomed to using a camera.

This my attempt at 'drawing' HWM using a flash light.

Light trails, for the uninitiated, are the lines of light that are captured when you set your camera to take long exposure shots. This effect is most effective at night as these light trails greatly contrast the darkness. Why would you want to do this? Simply because it looks pretty and it is also one of the easiest kinds of effects to recreate, thanks to its relatively simple setup procedure and equipment needed.

Almost any camera is capable of capturing a light trail. However, it is important to note the degree of control your camera has over your shutter speed. This is key to capturing light trails as the longer your shutter speed, the more light you can capture. You will also need to have a tripod to secure your camera so that it will stay still. You would not want your camera to shake when it is taking a long exposure shot as it would blur the picture. Finally, to create the light trails, you will need to find or create a light source.

A tripod is necessary as you will need a way to keep your camera still when capturing light trails

A flash light makes a good light source though you could also use lights from cars and street lights as well

There are many ways to take pictures of light trails and you can create some pretty cool effects. For instance, you could be creative in 'drawing' some shapes, or you could perch yourself overlooking a highway to create a natural streams of light using the light from vehicles

The rule of thumb when capturing light trails is to make sure your camera is set to use a long shutter speed (around 5-10 seconds) in order to capture more light. This technique is a great way to create breathtaking night shots or just something unusual and fun.

Till next time.

Chong Jinn Wei

Chong Jinn Wei / Freelance Writer

A person who is torn between the digital realm and the material realm. Loves videogames, manga and especially Gundams though I am currently trying stay a float in the vast ocean that is the Internet.