My First Time Doing Idaho Nighttime Light Painting

I’ve had some experience with long exposure photography, and I’ve always found it fascinating. But until now, my long exposure light painting had been done in dark rooms, never at night outside. So I want to share a few photos taken on several nights recently that I find super fascinating! I’ve found a new obsession with using light, and I’ve learned that prime photography hours do not end when golden hour ends. Here are some recent examples of my Idaho nighttime light painting photos.

Light painting in Tetonia, ID

I recently went on a photography excursion and one of our stops was Tetonia, Idaho. On a random, sketchy, dark street we found some old trucks and a quiet gravel road to do light painting. These are the results:

Design and Photography by Rachel - Idaho nighttime light painting old truck

An old, abandoned truck in a truckyard. This Idaho nighttime light painting was done with a small flashlight. We had someone light up the truck, spending extra time on the headlights. This made it look like they were lit up. We also got a really cool sky behind the truck, which only shows up due to the long exposure because it was pretty much dark when we did this.

Now for the sketchy gravel road photos:

Design and Photography by Rachel - Idaho nighttime light painting light tubes silhouette

LIGHT. TUBES. Light tubes. Listen. If you find a nice, quiet, sketchy, dark gravel road, you stop, set up your tripod, and get out a light tube. Pete DeMarco has some FABULOUS examples of this nighttime light painting technique.

To get this photo, we had a model pose for 25 seconds (you will usually do 20-30 seconds for these) while another person waved a light tube around like a light saber to create the design. We set our cameras to f/8 with ISO 400.

In post, I added an exposure mask in Photoshop to get rid of any extra light that was picked up, giving me this final result.

Design and Photography by Rachel - Idaho nighttime light painting light tubes portrait

This was another example, this time with three models. This time the exposure was a 30 second shutter speed.

Other Examples of Idaho Nighttime Light Painting

I recently took a stab at astrophotography, and I really want to try it again because I am not thrilled with how it turned out. My main issue was getting the focus to be on the stars, but I didn’t notice they were blurry until I was finished! *sad face*

Design and Photography by Rachel - Idaho nighttime light painting astrophotography

My plan is to try more astrophotography nighttime light painting tomorrow, so I’ll have to give you all an update after that happens! Fingers crossed. The above picture also included some light painting done with a flashlight on the trees. I blended 3 images together to get the final result, bringing in highlights of the trees from each image!

Original picture specs: f/3.5, SS 25 seconds, ISO 6400

The final technique I tried is a classic example of rural Idaho nighttime light painting: a trestle bridge.

Design and Photography by Rachel - Idaho nighttime light painting blue hour trestle bridge

This picture’s story is an example of true dedication as a photographer, though I do say so myself. I waited under the bridge as it rained (yes, my poor camera *cries*) until I got the perfect blue hour lighting. And then, as it was still raining, I went out from under the bridge, put my scarf over my camera to keep it dry, and took a few 15-second exposure photos. Someone else “painted” the bridge with a flashlight during those 15 seconds so that I could have a lit-up bridge as well as the blue sky. It was freezing, wet, and totally worth it.

Now, these have been some of my favorite examples of Idaho nighttime light painting outside, and now you should go check out my indoor light painting examples!