Nature photographer Matt Stock talks with Peggy about
his incredible light painting and layering techniques. Matt also
gives great tips for getting yourself out there and getting noticed.
*Please scroll to the bottom of the post for more images from our guest.*
Light Painted Landscape Techniques
with Matt Stock
“Light painting, I think, is very much a blend of art and science.
There’s a lot of improvisation and flexibility to it – and a little jazz.”
- Hunting spotlights
- Light wands for a soft glow
- Any portable light source will work
- Best to have a helper – or several, depending on the size of the area being lit.
- Grids, snoots, or soft boxes on strobes or speedlights can be used for more control of the light.
Settings and Technique
- Shoot in manual.
- Play with different timed exposures. (Most of Matt’s exposures are 3-8 seconds.)
- ISO 100-400
- Shoot wide – f/2.8
- Autofocus on your subject with a spot flashlight. Switch to manual and lock your focus in place with gaffer’s tape.
- Matt uses a notebook and makes sketches of the concept and reference notes of frame numbers.
- Light your subject in sections – each with their own 3-8 second exposure.
Sectioning off the subject and blending images later allows for more control of the final image.
- Composite and blend images together with layer masks. Doing it manually instead of automatically with the software gives better fine-tune control.
– LUMENZIA layer blending plug-in
– Build image layer by layer starting with the foundation.
Matt’s Equipment and Recommendations
Tripod – Manfrotto Carbon Fiber
Camera – Nikon D800e and Nikon D850
– You need a good DSLR or mirrorless for night photography.
Lenses – Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 (most used), Nikon 24-70, Nikon 70-200
– Sigma Art Series 12mm, Sigma Art Series 85mm
*It’s very important to have a fast lens.
**Highly recommend the Sigma Art Series lenses
“Believe in your work and have a voice.
Don’t try to duplicate what someone else is doing.
Develop your own style and your own voice, that’s what people
will know you for.”
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of the Week
Now there is an easy way to have the extra “flash power” you need in the field. The Flash X-Tender packs flat, weighs less than 3 ounces and sets up in 30 seconds and your flash output is extended a minimum of 2 full f-stops! Bring your birds and animals to life with an eye highlight. Used and praised by nature photographers world-wide. When used with TTL (Through-The-Lens) flash metering, exposure is automatically handled by your camera and flash, and no special compensation is required.