We were in Alaska on the first night of our Sony Alpha Collective trip, waiting for the Northern Lights to appear, so we decided to do a little light painting, while the auroras developed.
Light painting can make for some really interesting photos, and is pretty simple, if you set up your shots properly. Fortunately for me I had the assistance of Jody from Alaska Photo Treks to help me out with this one. You will need a tripod to keep your shot steady, as you’ll be leaving the shutter open for about a 15 second exposure. You may have to play around with timing, ISO, etc, depending on the amount of light in the scene, and the amount of light writing that you’re capturing. Also it helps if you set the shutter to go off on via timer or use a remote trigger, to help keep the camera steady.
For this particular shot I mounted the new Sony a9 and G Master f/2.8 16-35mm to a stable tripod, and set the ISO at 1000, shutter speed 15 seconds, f 2.8, and a focal length of 19mm. I found the a9 to do very well in the dark, and had very little trouble focusing, even in low light, and the G Master is a beauty as well. I framed the shot where Jody would be light painting. Its important to find your focus before you execute the shot, so I focused on her flashlight, and set the timer so I wouldn’t shake the camera pressing the shutter button. She stood behind the light source and had to write ‘Alaska’ backwards, for it to appear properly in the photo. You can experiment with your settings to get different results of course, but this is a good general place to start for light painting shots.