I'm getting rusty on my light painting lately so I waited till the middle of the night to go out armed with half a dozen colored flash lights, some toys, a speedlight, and some steel wool to get some artistic exercise.
This year I've had a lot of fun learning about light painting. Its a completely different world from the weddings, portriats, and motocross photography that I do, and while I'm still learning in all areas, light painting is an amazing exercise in composition. It makes me take all three dimensions into consideration more than just making sure my depth of field is going to be appropriate for my composition.
The picture below actually was an accident. It consists of me chasing my brother around with flaming steel wool and him trying to fight me back with a light saber.
I've learned that to incorporate light painting into a portrait (or portraiture into light painting), I have to take into consideration what I want to be in front. Its like layering in photoshop. In this one I first popped the subject (my bro James) with a speedlight through a small softbox. Then while he stood completely still, I ran around him waving my red light around to make the designs behind and beside him. If he had moved away from where he was standing, the light from the red torch would cover over his face and body. By the way, this is the only image that was photoshoped in this post. The rest are exactly as they were out of the camera except for some cropping.
The green orb in this one is an example of how hard it is to compose while standing in front of a camera in total darkness. My intention was to center the green orb up in the middle of the blue. I still love the green lines in both of these.