15 seconds of swirls


I didn’t want to just do a lame portrait. By a portrait’s nature they are easily simple. But I wanted to add depth.

This is a technique I have tried before when I first started to explore when I got into photography. It’s fun, and can add a mysterious layer to your photo that makes people think. It’s the same technique that Sprint is using to make its commercials. The top photo was one of the first that I shot and I like it the most.


Mary Margaret thankfully complied to letting me shoot photos of her in the dark for nearly half an hour. I just sat a camera on the top of my TV, composed and exposed for what I thought the exposure would be. With no lights in the room, I bounced a flash and then used a flashlight to draw the lines. A normal flashlight gives way more size to the light, so I taped it down to a small hole about as wide as a pen.


These aren’t amazing. They’re just kind of fun to shoot and learn how light works. I was covering the strobe with a blue shirt, when the shirt fell off and the flash fired full blast into the room, giving me the terrible photograph below. But it does show you how it was shot, so I threw it in.


Camera settings:

Shutter: 15 seconds
Aperture: 5.6
ISO: 80
Off Camera flash: 430 EX @ 1/32 on first photo, 1/1 on others
Orange light source: Mag-Lite w/ gaffers
Top it all off: Camera – Canon G9


3 Responses to “15 seconds of swirls”

  1. alliegee Says:

    This looks like so much fun. MM looks like of…menacing? in the first picture. Awesome experimentation; love that you shot it on the G9.

  2. lenscapremoved Says:

    Yeah Marge doesn’t look too happy in a few of these. I was so caught up in technique that I forgot the most important thing, mood. The one that captures it the best is that first one. That’s the look I wanted for all of them.

  3. I totally want a portrait like this.

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