Painting with light

The translation of photography is ‘painting with light’. It’s also a technique of iluminating an object at night with a torch, or using a light source to draw patterns and shapes in the dark and photographing them. I’d ben readng up on the former and had been planning to try it out at Arthurs Stone, on Cefn Bryn one clear night. I wanted to get a starry sky in shot too.

There was a cloudless sky as I drove home and I decided that the combination of sky and snow would make a good photo opportunity. So after a snack I packed the camera bag, donned three fleeces and an insulated jacket and set off for Cefn Bryn. I enjoy driving at night and once I was away from the traffic it was fun. Fairwood Common was white with snow that hadn’t melted. I had to stop to avoid two small ponies wandering along in the middle of the road.

Heading up to Cefn Bryn, the road was icy and I could feel the car sliding now and again. I took it easy, avoided a big icy puddle and pulled off the road on the top of the hill. Walking across the deep snow in bright moonlight felt eerie. It was quiet and there were none of the familiar landmarks. Several times, my boots sank into semi frozen mud and although I had a head torch, it was hard to tell if I was heading in the right direction.

Eventually I saw the bulk of Arthur’s Stone silhouetted against the lights of Llanelli across the Loughor estuary. I set up the tripod and started taking photos. I was using a long exposure of between 20 and 30 seconds and during that time, I was shining a torch on and around the stone. The results weren’t quite what I was after; the technique needs some practice. I switched to normal long exposure shots and thanks to the moon and snow, I got some pleasing results. (Have a look here for a photo of me taking a photo).

The journey home  was even more exciting than the one out, as the temperature had dropped and more ice had formed on the roads.

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