Drawing with light is extremely easy and fun. Simply wait until night time, put your camera on a tripod, and set your exposure for long periods of time (these are usually 5 seconds-5minutes), your aperture, and ISO. I usually use f4 at iso 200 or 400, but these settings need to be determined differently according to each situation. Then, DRAW! There are many different light toys that create different effects. Things that have been used before include sparklers, glow sticks, flashlights, maglights, fire/torches, RGB strips, Christmas lights, illuminated cell phones, iPods, laser pens, and of course, any kind of LED.
If you are interested in incorporating long exposure effects and light painting into your night photography, I would highly recommend "Night Photography & Light Painting" by Brent Pearson, especially if you are light painting landscapes.
Long Exposures During Day
You can also create long exposures of landscapes during they DAY by using an extremely dark filter that attaches to the front of your lens. The filter you can use is a B+W filter, an ND400 filter (I'd recommend this one), or even an Infrared filter. Taking long exposures during the day is useful for creating foggy/ghostly seascapes, blurring clouds, blurring water and waterfalls, and even removing people from a scene (if they are constantly moving).
These are a great challenge, and the best part is, you don't know what the photograph will look like until after you've taken it. You will need to have your camera on a tripod, manually focus to infinite, use the widest aperture you can and a low ISO. If you want to take 20+ minute long exposure, you will need to buy a cable release made for your specific DSLR. However, taking super long exposures can cause a lot of noise in images. An alternative wave to doing star trails is to take a bunch of 30 second exposures and then overlap all the images on your computer using a program called Startrails. There is a minor drawback to this method: for every 30 seconds of an exposed photo, there is a 1-2 second time period where the camera isn't taking an exposure. This makes it so there are little tiny spots not visible in your star trail. It is a very minor drawback, but ultimately it is a better method because there isn't as much noise.
Other Fun Long Exposures
There are also other things you can do with long exposure photography. Long exposures during the day allow water and clouds to blur, leafs on a tree will also blur (if there is wind). In addition, you can also take a long exposure in a very crowded city where lots of people are walking, and completely make the crowd invisible by taking a long exposure during that day.
You can also use a long exposure and then fire multiple flashes to light your subject in different ways, and/or to multiply them in number. You can also spin your camera to take perfect straight blurred out lines, or you can zoom in and out with your lens while the exposure is taking place.
Long exposures also come in handy during lightning, simply take a long exposure and wait for the lightning to show up.
The challenge: create a long exposure that has all of the above. Light painting, light spraying, star trails, and lightning; all in one photograph. (Okay, I realize it would be hard to get lightning, but try to include them all if you can 😉
Because long exposure photography is such a large topic, there is only so much I can write in a blog post. If you want to know more information on lights, techniques and effects, check out my Trick Photography and Special Effects eBook. It has over 60 pages of content solely dedicated to light painting techniques and long exposure effects.
You can easily use photo manipulation to make very trippy, surreal, drugged out, distorted faces. All you have to do is open your image up and select the face using the standard Rectangle Marquee tool. Then, go to Edit > Content-Aware Scale. Grab one of the points on the edge the selection and move it around. I like to shrink the face together rather than expand it, but feel free to experiment. The higher the resolution your original image is, the better quality it will be.
If you want to protect certain areas of your image (areas that will not be scaled) simply go to the Channels tab and create a new channel (Alpha 1). Then use a white brush to fill in the areas you want to protect. After you've done that, select your image using the Rectangle Marquee tool and then click Edit > Content Aware Scale in the menu.
Now, Below the main menu at the top there will be a toolbar, at the right of the toolbar there is a drop down box that is labeled "Protect:". Select Alpha 1, and then scale your image like normal. Keep in mind that none of the images on here were scaled using the Protect function.
Another awesome way to make weird faces is to scan your face!
You can easily make surreal face art just like these using your scanner. You can also use hands, pencils, and other various objects. Simply push the scan button and move your face along with the scanner light line. When you move your head along with the line, it will become stretched.
Pretty gruesome huh? The more you practice, the more you'll be making faces look completely mutated. These images came straight out of my scanner and have not been photoshopped in any way. You can see that the black background isn't 100% black. You can fix this in Photoshop by clicking on Image > Adjustments > Selective Color, once there, select Blacks as your color, and then move the slider to the right. This will darken your background substantially. If it isn't looking 100% black to you, click Image > Auto Contrast, and then try doing it again. It should work after Auto Contrast.
Have fun! Another way to make scary faces is to manipulate your face in CS4 using Content Aware Scaling.