Here are the very basics per our instructor (see his amazing work here). There can be lots of variations here depending on your goal, but this is what I stuck with for most of the evening while I was trying to learn:
- Keep the ISO low.
- Set shutter speed at around 1 or 2 seconds to create a sense of movement.
- Use aperture to control the quantity of light and depth of field.
- Use a tripod.
- Wiggle the camera, wiggle the light source, or both at the same time.
- Experiment. Experiment. Experiment.
After setting my shutter speed, I fiddled with the aperture. Stop it down incrementally (f4.5, f8, f11, etc) and each time checked the image in the viewfinder to see how the overall exposure looked. Bright and sharp foreground light? Check. Black background? Check.
In the first image (which I LOVE just like it is!) the instructor is standing in front of a lighted presentation screen and swinging a long, blue light bar with his right hand: ISO 320, 38mm (using my 24-70 lens), f4.5, 1 second shutter speed.
The second image: ISO 320, 38mm, f10, 1 second shutter speed.
The instructor was in the same location and all camera settings, except for the aperture, were the same in both images. The wonderful streaks and trails of light were captured with the long shutter speed, while closing down the aperture from f4.5 to f10 blackened the background and gave an extended area of sharpness. Cool, huh?
Needless to say the possibilities are endless with this. I love experimental photography!