Light painting

This article was published in 2017, in Newsletter 131.

Photo: Colin Morrison
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Camcycle is looking to set up a photography group with the aim of creating great imagery for the Campaign’s use along with having some fun taking pictures of one of our favourite things … bikes!

As a Camcycle member and local freelance photographer I’ve been working with the newsletter team to try and build up a back catalogue of images and this has developed into wondering whether more members might like to get involved and contribute their photographs.

A small group of us recently spent a couple of hours playing with light on Jesus Green. I helped with working out the correct camera settings and discussed composition and framing. We used bikes ridden by the group and captured some unique and beautiful cycle images.

Heidi Hodgson’s fantastic bike silhouette image was created using a light stick held by someone walking behind the bike.

Colin Morrison’s stunning portrait of Matt Danish and his cycle was also taken using a light stick, this time with someone swirling it around behind Matt who was lit by the lights along the path across Jesus Green.

Left – Photo: Heidi Hodgson. Right – Photo: Emma Porter
Image as described adjacent Image as described adjacent

Emma Porter beautifully captured the light display on my Dutch bike. By using f/16 Emma created a starburst effect on each point of light, really making the bike sparkle.

Light painting is one aspect of photography that I love. I love how it is technically challenging, balancing the light/lack of light, and the huge range of abstract images that you can create, in particular capturing movement in the form of strokes of light. There is so much room for creativity in this form of photography.

If you want to try some bike-themed light painting you’ll need at least one source of light, a bike, a camera on which you can adjust the shutter speed, a tripod and a dark space. You will need to think about how you are going to light the bike – do you want a silhouette (light source must travel behind), a bike shape (use a torch to trace the shape of a bike) or do you want a ‘portrait’ of a bike (where you light up the bike)? Set your camera to a slow shutter speed (at least 1 second), and as low an ISO as you can, then make sure your aperture ideally is at f/16 (if it’s particularly dark you may need to move this to f/8.0/f/5.6).

It’s also amazing the attention a bike gets when it is simply draped in fairy lights! Our efforts on Jesus Green drew a healthy crowd of Instagram snappers – it strikes me that chatting to onlookers could be a very effective soft-marketing technique for Camcycle.

If any Camcycle members would be interested in joining in with our photography efforts then we would love to hear from you. Please contact

Lucinda Price