Star Trails and Light Painting on Location

In this photography class, Karl uses a long exposure to photograph star trails and paint with light, achieving some fantastic results.

Shots like this require a little bit of testing (and a lot of running around with a torch), but are more achievable than you might think. Karl covers aspects such as his composition decisions, camera settings and how to paint with light. This is a great technique that you can easily try yourself next time you’re out photographing at night.

In this class:

  • How to photograph star trails
  • Painting with light photography technique
  • Photographing in low light
  • Creative long exposure ideas

Questions? Please post them in the comments section below.


  1. Je ne savais pas qu’on pouvait faire d’aussi jolies choses; Merci pour cette leçon Je ferai l’essai ce soir avec les outils que j’ai sous la main. Best

  2. Hi Karl , when you had to run from building to building , did you have to stay out of the frame? Amazing image, thank you.

    1. Hi, not really as long as you don’t have the torch shining on yourself. Dressing in black helps too.

  3. Stunning location Karl and the painting with light such a good tip.
    **After spending lots of time in this area I strongly suggest doing reconnaissance in daylight if shooting near the old mine buildings. Most mines are located near the cliffs due to the mines actually being out under the sea. Plan your route in daylight. Slips and trips are easily done in daylight let alone night time and the cliffs quite often staggered into the land. So please don’t walk off a cliff folks!

  4. Hi karl,
    How do you estimate the exposure time of the background and the time when the High Power Torch hits the house?I seem to see,You went to see the camera During the period of shooting。

    1. Hi Wei, I do a test shot to work out the background exposure. The amount of light painting needed is just a gut feeling an experience and takes some experimentation, I don’t get it right every time.

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