I took my V24 LED Lenser lightsabre out for a quick wave about at Sandford Mill Lock this evening. All good fun. These were some of the out-takes which didn’t get chosen for my Day #2156 or 25th MoNovember images:
I enjoyed an evening with some folks from The Essex Massive Flickr group in Colchester today. We were photographing some of the more intrepid members doing some fire spinning (burning wire wool), and I also took along some of my lightpainting tools for a quick swirl. Here are the best shots of the session:
This one nearly made it as best picture of Day #1931.
November was another busy month photographically. I love the autumn colours, so when time allowed I was out and about photographing the lovely leaves with my fantastic new macro lens. I’m very impressed with the results.
The dark nights made it easy to get out and do some more light painting. Here’s one which I liked from a session out with the GNPC folks at a very dark churchyard!
When it was too wet to wave the lightsabres around outside, I indulged in some indoor light painting with various different tools instead, and also had my first go at spinning physiograms – trickier than it looks!
More studio activities involved testing out my new Splash Art Kit on various occasions.
It produces some great results with a much better valve and pressure tank than my original Camera Axe setup, and I’ve also bought some great flash brackets for getting better background colours.
I look forward to playing with it more over the coming weeks and months – I’ll certainly need some practice as I’m giving two talks with live demos about water splashes to clubs in the near future!
The Splash Art system also seems a bit more rugged and more easily transportable compared to the delicate electronics of the Camera Axe, so it should be much better for taking on the road to various places.
I enjoyed a lovely weekend visiting a friend at the seaside in Kent mid-month. Saturday was pretty grim, but we had a gloriously crisp, sunny autumn day on the Sunday. There was some amazing light in Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Margate.
Talking of the seaside – I witnessed another fantastic sunset in Brightlingsea a few days ago. I was there re-acquainting myself with the qualities of my 100-400mm zoom lens, which I’d just collected from being repaired.
I haven’t really had much opportunity to play with it yet, but I have found that it can make some stylish borders for pictures.
This triptych of beautiful stones in the sand at Broadstairs is finished off rather well with the additional edging.
My ongoing love for mono photography was once again fuelled by taking part in the annual Monovember challenge on Flickr. I am pleased with my thirty images, and feel that I did the group justice. However, I will be glad to go back to just needing to make two images a day for December, rather than three!
And so that brings us to the end of the month – and December is upon us once again! Watch this space for the next installment.
I thought I would give you a quick rundown of the tools which are currently in my Light Painting Box of Tricks (actually there are two!)
The two plastic storage boxes contain various tools – one for small flashing kiddies’ lightwands, torches and LED fairy lights, the other housing longer tools such as my Disney Lightsabre and LED Lenser v24 multicoloured wand.
Here is a closer look at each tool:
The Disney lightsabre is basically a kid’s toy – and makes convincing swooshing noises when switched on. Once activated, it stays on solidly for about 30s before turning off automatically. I’ve used it to make shots on Day #1774 and Day #1789 and Toybox Day #313.
The LED Lenser v24 is now out of production, although examples can be picked up on eBay if you keep an eye out for them. It’s a 7-colour-cycling LED wand. Switching it on will change the colours automatically every few seconds, and a second button allows you to lock the colour as solid if you wish. I’ve used it to make shots on Day #1530, Day #1533 and Day #1548 so far.
I picked up this LED fan in Japan for a couple of pounds. I’m sure you can get them elsewhere. It has five LEDs on one of the blades which all flash at random intervals as it spins. I’ve used this to good effect on Day #1775, Day #1786 and Toybox Day #327.
The “Coathanger Flasher” is something I made out of a cheap plastic coat hanger onto which I’ve sellotaped three kids’ party lightsticks which I got cheap from eBay. Each lightstick has several modes – on solid, slow flash, fast flash and wipe from one end to the other. I often use each of the three in a different mode for one shot, just for a bit of variety. So far I’ve made shots on Day #1786 and Day #1792 with it.
The simplest light-painting tool of all – an LED torch. I have several different ones which I’ve been playing with so far. The UV one has solid on, fast flash and slow flash modes. I used the slow flash setting to make Day #1788‘s intriguing Physiogram. One of the white ones is rather too diffuse to be much good for Physiograms – the smaller the beam, the better for those. I might come in handy for outdoor work though, so I’m keeping hold of it.
I have several different coloured strings of LED fairy lights. Battery operated is essential. Have’t used these much in anger yet, but hope to make some Orbs with them in the future. Some stay on solidly, others have the option to flash.
I have also found a tube of 15 glowsticks for a quid, and some more cheap kiddies’ lightsticks. Haven’t used either of these much as yet, but I’m sure they will get a run out soon.
And perhaps the most important tool of all in the light-painter’s arsenal is a box of Quality Street choccies. Firstly, to keep you going on a cold, dark night. And secondly to use the coloured cellophane wrappers as gels for torches and bunches of LED fairy lights! Double win, I say!
I will write another post as and when I develop any more tools which may be of interest.
Light painting indoors or spinning physiograms are fun, and can be a great creative stop-gap when its raining or too dark for anything else. But it is a bit of a cop out… Some amazing effects can be seen when you venture outdoors and find the right location for your light painting activities.
It’s often tricky to balance the exposure for the ambient light of your scenery versus the light from your painting tools. That’s where the experimentation comes in.
After getting my LED Lenser V24 and Disney lightsabres early in the year, I had a go at light painting in various locations. This one was made with Alistair in Newcastle, with him waving the Lenser wand around while I minded the camera. It nearly made it for Day #1533:
I ventured out alone a few days later when I returned home. Hylands Park is pretty deserted after dark – but you can clearly see the flow of traffic on the A414 next to it. This one nearly made it for Day #1548:
Since then, I had not done any outdoor work until recently, when friends from GNPC suggested an after dark Light Painting workshop at a churchyard in the middle of nowhere. Several of us had fun using various tools. Here’s one image which were near misses for Day #1774:
When I was heading to the seaside the other day, I thought there may be a chance of an interesting location at dusk, so packed the light painting tools in the car. I got a few shots before the batteries in my LED Lenser were about to fade – this one nearly made it for Day #1789:
As you can see, with the right location, you can get some pretty impressive results. In another post, I will tell you a little bit about my lightpainting tools. And I’ll be sure to write more when I set about using them to make Orbs and Domes – hopefully soon!