Fun Photography Project
Starting out with Photography is sometimes a frustrating business. You know the kind of shots you want to be able to take, but your efforts seem so very far removed from that image of perfection. Well, heres a neat photography project that produces excellent results (I made the image above in about 30 seconds). This is pretty simple to set up and requires no post processing at all.
1. A flashlight
2. Some string
3. A small and thinnish bit of colored paper - A Post-It or cellophane works well
5. Your camera + tripod
This project works best at night, unless you have a room which blocks out all sunlight. Tie the string around your flashlight and secure with the tape (Do this well, you don't want the flashlight falling on your camera). Next, attach the string to the roof of the room you intend to shoot in. I've used both light fittings and duct tape in the past, but you could also just swing the flashlight around above the camera. The latter won't give you uniform parabolas though.
Now set your camera to manual and adjust the aperture to around 4 or 4.5. Set exposure to between 8 secs and as high as 1 minute. Set up your tripod (or place your camera on a flat surface) below your flashlight setup and make you sure you focus correctly or even better just use auto-focus with the lights on. (Focal length around 14mm for an average tripod / roof set up). Be sure to set your camera to shoot a few seconds after you press the shutter. Now turn off the lights, set your flashlight in motion and shoot. Wait till your camera has taken the shot before moving or turning on the lights.
You can play around with different colored Post-Its or cellophane over your flashlight. Note that this will diffuse the light somewhat. A cool effect is created if you make a small hole in the middle of the colored paper as well. Have fun!