The excavator – Pedro Perez

The excavator – Pedro Perez

The excavator

Today we are chatting with Pedro Perez,who tells us how he put together this light painting photograph.


How did the idea of making this picture come about?

The thing with light painting is that you never know where inspiration is going to come from.  This was certainly the case with this photo where the idea for the photograph came from a most unexpected source.

I was on vacation in Boniches, where my parents have a little house. Right next door some friends were starting construction of a chicken coop so they had hired the excavator seen in the photo. As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to take advantage of it and grab some quick photos that very night before curfew.


Can you tell us what steps you took to get the result we see?

Before I arrived at this photo, which is what I consider as the definitive version, I had done a number of different tests, both in terms of lighting and color combinations.  In the end I opted for this one as I felt the shadows stood out more in this yellow tone than in the darker tones such as purple. 

After finding the desired framing and setting up the tripod, I set up the camera with the desired settings to be able to create the photograph you see.

What parameters did you use?

In this case the EXIF data consists of:

ISO 500


Live Composite mode at 15 seconds 

The total exposure time for the photo was about 2 minutes.


When it came to lighting up the scene, what steps did you take?

The first step in the process was to illuminate the shovel area and the wheels from above, from the front and laterally from both sides.  To do this, I used the “Lightpainter’s Ryu’s Lightworks” flashlight to bring out the warm tones and highlights of the excavator.

Then, well hidden behind the wheels, I backlit the excavator in red to give it a little more drama and sense of depth.

Finally, I decided to light up the cab of the excavator through one of the windows using a Led Lenser MT18 flashlight and the blue Light Painting Paradise filter.

Once that was done, the photo was complete.

Can you give us some advice on how to take these types of photographs?
Without a doubt the most important thing is to go out, to experiment and get to know your tools as well as you possibly can.  To highlight the power of these massive machines, not much lighting is necessary – sometimes less is more.  The key thing is to try, to practice and to enjoy the process until you reach the desired result. 

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