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Scitech

Science Behind Scitech:
Drawing with Light

Explore the magic of ‘photons’ by creating a drawing with light, using long exposure camera settings.

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We’ve all seen stunning photographs of the night sky, but have you ever wondered how they were taken?

Using a camera and a bright torch, discover how long exposure photography works. Can you draw with light?  Watch the video below and try to recreate your own at home!

What you’ll need

  • A camera or a mobile phone with a camera
  • A dark place
  • A bright torch
  • Your imagination!

What you’ll do

  • Find the shutter speed setting on your camera or phone – you want to be able to keep the shutter open for at least 8-10 seconds.
  • Turn the torch on and point it at the camera.
  • Press the button on your camera or phone to start the long exposure photo.
  • Standing in front of the camera, use the torch to create shapes or spell out words – you can count out loud from one to 10 to help you keep track of how long your camera’s shutter is open for.
    TIP: Use a tripod or a shelf to keep the camera as still as possible. Then it’s only capturing the movement of your light, and not any extra shakes!
  • Check your artwork! How does it look?

Now that you’ve learned how to draw with light, keep experimenting! What kinds of shapes or patterns can you make?

Here’s one that we did at – well, can you guess where?
Scitech written in green light text.

A decorative pattern.

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