C B Images

Photography by Chris Bates

Chris Bates Photography, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, Nature, Apple Tree, Leaves, Fall, Colour
Up in Flames at Night: ISO 200, 24mm, f/5.6, 8.0s

I have read about painting your subjects with LED lights and wondered how hard is it to do. Well, I tried it the other night on our apple tree with all the different coloured leaves.

I set the camera on a tripod since I was playing with long exposures. The shutter stayed open for 8 seconds on this shot. In order for the camera to focus I had to shine my flashlight on a spot on the tree for the autofocus to find its mark. I also set the camera to take the shot 10 seconds after I pressed the shutter release. You can also use a remote or a cable shutter release (I don't have either for my Canon 40D) .

I set up my flash/strobe on a second tripod away from the camera and pointed it at the inside of a white umbrella. I thought that bouncing the light of the flash/strobe would illuminate the tree more effectively than directly pointing the flash/strobe at the tree.

I also warned my wife that if any neighbours come knocking on our door asking about crazy lights going off in the backyard it was me playing with the flashlight and camera.

Once I heard the shutter open (After the 10 Second delay) I then "painted" the tree with my LED Flashlight. After experimenting with a few different motions (Up/down, Side to Side) and different speeds I got a few shots I thought would work. It was hard to tell in the dark looking at the little screen on the back of the camera especially when my eyes were adjusting to brightness then darkness.

Before I started I had envisioned that it would isolate the apple tree from the distractions behind it (neighbour's motorhome, our white fence etc.) The finished project came pretty close to what I envisioned. I chose this one to show you.