Painting with light: visiting the light painting specialist

Taking photos without light is like making coffee without water: black and a dry thing. Various workshops therefore deal with the Pho­to Münsin­gen 2022 with the all-important ingredient. Bruno Kneubühler is someone who tames light in a special way. He creates amazing images using light painting.

When Bruno Kneubühler takes photographs, it is initially dark. With light painting, the camera shutter is opened in the most complete darkness possible, so that different light sources can then be used to literally draw in the picture. "The idea is that you compose an image with lamps, glow sticks, LED lights, Plexiglas or simply anything that lights up or can be illuminated," says Kneubühler, explaining the basic principle.

All in one exposure

For example, a ghostly mask appears. With a flashlight, the photographer draws a skeleton in the air. Then he lights colored spots on the sandstone wall of the cave and transforms it into a mystical location. The shutter is closed again. A colorful image appears on the camera display - which immediately arouses the viewer's interest and imagination.

"Everything in the picture is created in one exposure, nothing is put together in Photoshop," is how Bruno Kneubühler describes his fascination with the technology. “You can actually paint with light just as you would paint with paint. The sensor simply records what it sees.”

It is important to think carefully about how to proceed. You can't turn off the light. "It's a try. And it's always exciting to see whether the result is what you had in mind," says Bruno Kneubühler.

Experiments with the flashlight

The native of Bern taught himself light painting. After initially photographing light trails from cars, fireworks or Bengal matches, he began experimenting with flashlights. Gradually, thanks to the internet and his own tinkering, he got to know more technology. Meanwhile, he regularly leads workshops.

At the Pho­to Münsin­gen Bruno Kneubühler offers two light painting courses. in the foundation course the participants get to know technology and basics: At «Light painting advanced» advanced images are then developed.

Good ideas and a tripod

A prerequisite for the light painting workshops is that the participants can operate their cameras. You should know how to set aperture, ISO, exposure time and especially noise reduction for long exposures. You will also need a tripod and a remote shutter release. A headlamp and a hat to cover the lens are also useful tools.

Good ideas are always needed for light painting. "It always depends on the situation and the available material, what you can do," says Kneubühler, "if the participants like, we can implement relatively complex images in the workshops".

Various workshops on light

So much for light painting. Special lighting situations and their possibilities are dealt with at the Pho­to Münsin­gen In 2022, however, there will also be numerous other workshops. For example, there is the course «Sand Blast» by Felix Peter, in which a magical world is created with colored light and flour. In workshop "Nude in the candlelight" by Christoph Ris, it's all about creating enchanting, sensual shots with as little light as possible. The workshop is also recommended for lighting enthusiasts "Laws of Light" by Martin Zurmühle or the course «Portrait shots 1 model – 1 light» with Remo Zehnder.

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