Saturday, July 4, 2009

Fourth of July: Drawing with Sparklers

I'll leave it to Karen and Brian to post the other photos over the next few days.

Here's how's it's done: These aren't photoshopped. With each of these photos, I set the camera up to do a 15 to 25 second exposure. Since the sparkler itself is so bright relative to everything else, it exposes the "film" really well in the short time that it is in a location. Anywhere that you drag it, it will show up on the exposed image. Think of it as using sparklers to draw with light.

Since it is such a long exposure, people don't show up in the image unless you add supplimentary light or unless they stand in one place for a long time.

In later images (where Karen is on both sides of the heart for example) I added
people to the image by flashing my flash at key times. Since they are so bright when they get hit with a flash, that moment makes an impression on the film. I hit Karen with flash twice. Hence: two Karens.

In the group shot, you can see me holding the flash (which is why it was so hard to get Demoree, Brian, and Joy well lit). We took this photo by having Karen press the shutter and then run into place. I then hit the flash so that you would be able to see us all in place, and then we passed the sparkler down from person to person.

In Joy's shot, I hit Joy with flash and then Karen ran into the shot, painted on wings, and then ran out (covering the sparkler so that it wouldn't leave a trail as she ran out of frame.


  1. Your photography is really good! I love the explanation.
    I have one where my son took a picture of his siblings and cousins moving the sparklers. It turned out that each one did the exact thing. It was an accident, I am pretty sure, but he won first place in his 6th grade photography contest. I wish I had that negative or the original print. It got lost somewhere. I was so impressed. I should have framed it!