We Simplify The Technical!

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.*

Episode 179

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.”


  • Flashlights
  • 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.”

Finding Matt






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Gear Recommendation
of the Week



Better Beamer Flash Extender

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.

Matt Stock Abandoned Everglades Truck
Matt Stock Everglades Lightning
Matt Stock Icy Aurora
Matt Stock Mangrove
Matt Stock Abandoned Everglades Plane
Matt Stock Mangrove Milky Way

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