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This has been sitting in my notebook for almost a year.  Soon after my short experiment with lightwriting,  I watched an episode of Scott Wittenburg’s photography podcast and the subject was ‘physiograms’.  It was the first time I ever heard the term, and as soon as I looked it up on flickr, I was captivated.

The podcast is a nice introduction to the subject, but in the end, I preferred a simpler approach mentioned by a few other photographers:  You simply suspend a torch from the ceiling (I used the AC vent), with your camera pointing upwards from the floor.  That’s it!

Mesmerising aren’t they? I spent at least an hour and it felt only like a few minutes.  Once everything is in place, and the right settings are dialled into the camera, the fun can begin.  Hours of it, if you like, in creating these wonderful shapes.


  1. Thats amazing! Great work! I really need to learn some new techniques and fun stuff but honestly I don’t know how to learn without seeing it done in front of me! I’m just good at point and shoot! lol

    • Um Yousef
    • Posted 6 July 2010 at 2:27 am
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    Lovely and truly captivating

    • Bu3alwa
    • Posted 6 July 2010 at 6:21 am
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    Astonishing! but how did u make it that you didn’t show up in the photo? you were behind the light right. the light should show up the body as it happens to me. so how did you avoid it?

    • I was behind the light in some of the shots, but it’s better to be out of the frame if at all possible. You’re right, if you’re close to the light you will slowly buy surely build an image of yourself on the sensor. Make the string longer so you’re a little further from the light source. It may help.

      The challenge for me was the ceiling being a very reflective white (and therefore so is the AC grill). After a few seconds, the AC vent showed up in the images. The best way to avoid it was to reduce the aperture (higher f number). I also adjusted the levels using iPhoto (to slightly darken the background) and remove the highlights showing unwanted subjects.

      Keep trying, it will suddenly happen. Enjoy.

        • Bu3alwa
        • Posted 6 July 2010 at 11:00 pm
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        Thnx, I’ll try to do some new ones.

  2. Looks amazing 🙂 Excellent work!

    • Mathai
    • Posted 6 July 2010 at 8:17 pm
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    Awesome! this is definitely safer than the camera toss technique. One of my contacts on Flickr was a little too slow once in catching his D70 and OUCH! 😛

    • ‘Camera toss’ sounds more like suicide than a technique!

    • Summer
    • Posted 8 July 2010 at 1:24 pm
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    wooow!! mashaallah the pics look really cool!!

  3. this is really nice … should try it out

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