How I light painted and photographed a flock of seagulls at night with minimal equipment

May 1, 2023

Torsten Frerichs

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

How I light painted and photographed a flock of seagulls at night with minimal equipment

May 1, 2023

Torsten Frerichs

Alex Baker is a portrait and lifestyle driven photographer based in Valencia, Spain. She works on a range of projects from commercial to fine art and has had work featured in publications such as The Daily Mail, Conde Nast Traveller and El Mundo, and has exhibited work across Europe

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How I light painted and photographed a flock of seagulls at night

I have been light painting for a couple of years now. It is something I enjoy immensely. For me, it is a great pairing between being outdoors in nature and using photography as a creative outlet. With light painting, you can truly create anything you can imagine, and I enjoy the challenge of doing everything in a single exposure.

I wanted to try something different from the usual light painting subjects like stars and hearts. As a volunteer for animal and environmental protection who lives on the coast, I came up with the idea to use seagulls in my picture. Here, I wish to share with you how I created this image. You will see that it’s not difficult, it just requires a little patience and some trial and error.

How I light painted and photographed a flock of seagulls at night
The final image, shot in one exposure.

To capture the image, I only needed a few pieces of equipment: an Olympus camera with a 7mm wide-angle lens (equivalent to 14mm full frame), a flash, a stamp, a flashlight, and a tripod. DIYP covered how to create a lighting painting stamp a while back in detail.

How I light painted and photographed a flock of seagulls at night
The sea gull light stamp I created

To get the perfect shot, I started with an exposure of aperture f/7.0, ISO 100, and 225 seconds in live time mode. Then, I walked towards the camera from about ten meters away, flashing the stamp every few meters. After that, I used a flashlight to add character to the scene.

The biggest challenge was making the swarm of seagulls look natural, which took me ten attempts to get right. If you’re new to light painting, start with a smaller stamp and use a flashlight instead of a flash.

I highly recommend trying light painting, with or without a stamp. It’s a lot of fun and allows for infinite creativity. I only considered myself particularly creative once I started doing light paintings two years ago.

About the Author

Torsten Frerichs is a light painting enthusiast based in Jever, Germany. He was gracious enough to share how he created this photo with DIYPhotography readers.

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2 responses to “How I light painted and photographed a flock of seagulls at night with minimal equipment”

  1. Dario Toledo Photographer Avatar
    Dario Toledo Photographer

    By blinding them? :)