This photo collection was taken at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ on a moon lit night.  I used a light painting technique where you shine the outer edge of a flashlight beam (not the full center light) on to  your subject for about 1/3rd of your exposure time.  So for the 15 second exposure you leave the flashlight on for about 5 seconds.  Then you turn the light off and continue with the exposure.  This provides enough light to highlight the subject without making it appear as though it was day light.  These photographs had the advantage of a full moon night so there was an additional source of light that a moonless night would not provide.  In addition, the garden is in the city so the ambient light was brighter than it would be in an isolated or rural area.  You will need to keep the other sources of light in mind when deciding how long to leave the flashlight on the subject.  The 1/3rd is just a guideline, not a rule.  Experiment with different exposures and amounts of time you leave the flashlight on to see what works best for your subject and lighting conditions.

Photograph of saguaro cactus in the moon light.

f/5.6 – 20 sec – ISO 400 – Focal Length 50 mm

Photo of a Native American dwelling at night.

f/5.6 – 30 sec – ISO 500 – Focal Length 28 mm

Photo of the moon rising over cactus at the Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden

f/5.0 – 2.0 sec – ISO 400 – Focal Length 100 mm

Photo of a yucca with the moon in the background

f/5.6 – 15 sec – ISO 400 – Focal Length 35 mm

Photo of a saguaro cactus in the moonlight

f/5.0 – 15 sec – ISO 400 – Focal Length 75 mm


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