More Fun with Speedlites: Stroboscopic Flash and Light-Painting

As we’ve already discussed, you can do a lot with a speedlite, and so we did! The two techniques in this post both create fun effects, though they’re not something you might do everyday. But, then again, you might!

So I introduce to you: stroboscopic flash and light-painting with speedlites.

Stroboscopic flash is used in a pitch dark environment; you set your flash to strobe mode, where it fires rapidly in succession which, when combined with a long shutter speed, effectively captures the motion of your subject in one frame.

Here is an example of a photo taken with stroboscopic flash:

This was a two second exposure where the flashes fired eight times; if you look closely, you can count eight separate Hillaries and eight separate Julies twirling in place.

None of these images are wonderful, but they were so so so much fun to make! We were dancing, leaping, and falling all over the place.

I wore one of my biggest skirted dresses to enhance the effect. Harold “Doc” Edgerton was famous for doing this type of photography; our images pale in comparison to his, of course, but I do think we had just as much fun making them.

Our instructor thought this one was weird, but I think it’s hilarious! We had hoped Hillary’s face would come through, but my dress had too much material to it and blocked her. My face is priceless though; I look completely, gleefully, insane.

We even got our TA, Jenn, involved. I promise, she was more amused than she looks:

So much fun with stroboscopic speedlites!

We also learned how to light-paint with a speedlite. This also requires a dark room and a long exposure. With this technique, you set up your subject, set a long shutter speed (mine was fifteen seconds) and then literally “paint” light around your subject while the shutter remains open. I manually popped my speedlite (about six to eight pops, I believe) while walking around Nicole to evenly illuminate her. She gamely stayed very still for the entirely of the exposure. And so we have Nicole, light-painted with a speedlite:

Don’t you wish you got to play in a dark studio all day with your speedlite? I feel so lucky to be learning all of these skills, building the foundations of a career, AND having so much fun at school. It’s a wonderful life!



Filed under Photo Assignment, School

2 responses to “More Fun with Speedlites: Stroboscopic Flash and Light-Painting

  1. I don’t know what speedlite is but these photos are whimsical and playful. And it’s nice to actually see you! Thought you might want to look at this blogger? Unless you’ve already found her;

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