Painting with light

Here are two examples of photographing trucks at night. Two different types of light, two subjects with totally opposite colors; one black, one white.

Both were created by painting with light … keeping the shutter open until the light source covers each part of the subject that is otherwise in near total darkness.

white fire truck at night
This white truck was illuminated by painting with light using a large portable flash head. Larry Shapiro photo

The image of the white fire truck was created by moving through the exposure area with a large, handheld flash unit while the shutter remained open for close to a minute. I’m not visible because I was moving quickly and I had someone placing an object in front of the lens after each pop of the flash.

black tow trucks at night created by painting with light
These two black trucks were illuminated from the camera position with a large handheld spotlight. Larry Shapiroi photo

The image of the black tow trucks was created with a 500,000 candlepower handheld spotlight from the camera position while the shutter remained open for 30 seconds. Ambient light from the truck lights added to the overall exposure and dramatic effect.

Both images were created on transparency film and previews with several Polaroid test shots to perfect and tweak the exposure settings and lighting.