Swirling painted light and move at The Round Tower in old Portsmouth

Photos from The Old Portsmouth at Night Photo Walkshop

The 3rd photography walkshop of 2023 was a return of a past favourite of night photography in Old Portsmouth, with long exposure harbour lights and light painting in the historic alleyways of Spice Island.

The morning’s daytime photography workshop had started at The Point and so did this walkshop, with 13 photographers setting up their cameras and tripods whilst receiving guidance on setting up exposure, shutter speed, ISO and many other settings needed for the evening’s photography. We used the blue/purple lights of The Spinnaker Tower for our first composition, with the colourful reflection clear in the smooth harbour water due to the long exposure.

With an ear open for the next arriving Isle of Wight ferry, we moved our attention to the harbour marker with a green flashing marker light. With a backdrop of Gosport lights we worked on focusing at night and composition. As a ferry arrived we aimed to capture the passing lights behind the marker and still have time to move our cameras around to capture the ferry passing by the Spinnaker Tower. With some great results we spoke about how and why you can see the lights of the tower shine through the dark areas of the ferry as it arrived in The Camber. We moved back to the marker and spent some time using torches together to paint it with light, so as to make it stand out better in the dark harbour.

Time to move to a narrow alleyway tucked away off the cobbled street to begin to experiment with light painting. We started with simple single light source, then on to multiple lights and finally on to how you can ‘pop’ ghost-like figures in to your frame. Despite packing in all those tripods to such a small space we all managed to get some interesting results! We walked down to another alleyway and worked on creating an atmosphere, the use of colour gels and even got to try out a huge LED tube.

Our last spot was by The Round Tower, with a wide open space where everyone could grab a light and get creative, building images where we all collaborated in painting a colourful chaos of light trails. Time flies when you are having fun, and it was soon 9am and time for us all to go our own ways. A huge thank you to everyone for coming out on a cold January evening!

You can see some photos below but you can also look at loads of fantastic photos taken on the walkshop by Giles Smith and Trevor Smith HERE.

If you are interested in coming along yourself you can join in on one of the upcoming walkshops including: shore walking in Emsworth, and exploring the meadows at Fishbourne. As always, these workshops are for all abilities and everyone is welcome. The other walks of a new route at Hilsea Lines, and the shore wrecks at Portchester are now fully booked, I’m looking at putting in some new dates very soon that will include some more walkshops in Portsmouth and another evening of light painting.   – Paul.


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