Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Photography is Drawing with Light

This photography experiment I tried with my boys was inspired by a book we borrowed from our local library, Sam and the Firefly by P.D. Eastman.  It’s about an owl who befriends a firefly named Sam who can blink his light on and keep it on so Gus, the owl, teaches him to write words in the sky.  The story goes from there, the firefly plays tricks on people writing “free show” over the movie theater and changing the “hot” sign on the hot dog sign to “cold”.  It’s not the most amazing story, but it’s cute and the idea of drawing with light was fun.  Sam the firefly eventually uses his new skill to save the day by stopping a train before it crashes. 
I received a new camera for Christmas so one night at bedtime I had the boys bring their new flashlights to their bedroom with them.  My camera is a single lens reflex camera (SLR) that allows you some creative control over the shutter speed etc.  I set the shutter speed at about 4 seconds and turned the automatic focus to manual.  The boys took turns writing letters in the air, drawing shapes, and dancing.  It’s not that easy to write backwards so I wrote some words and flipped them horizontally on the computer later on.  My husband tried outlining the boys with the flashlight which turned out pretty cool too. 

Zigzag from head to toe

  On a side note I realized that my writing with light looked just like my normal hand writing.  This is intriguing to me since I wrote in the air using wide sweeping arm movements, completely different muscle groups than writing with typical pen and paper.  But when I look at these words written with light I totally recognize it as my handwriting.  My husband who is much more mathematically oriented than I am also found this interesting.  “The math in that is beautiful,” he said. 

Smiley Face
Circle using your arm as a compass




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