Tag Archives: lightsabre

My Light Painting Toolbox

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!)

Box Of Tricks #1
Box Of Tricks #1
Box Of Tricks #2
Box Of Tricks #2

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:

Disney Lightsabre - Off
Disney Lightsabre – Off
Disney Lightsabre - On
Disney Lightsabre – On

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.

LED Lenser V24 - Colour Changing Lightsabre
LED Lenser V24 – Colour Changing Lightsabre

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.

LED Fan - Off
LED Fan – Off
LED Fan - On
LED Fan – On

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.

Coathanger Flasher - Off
Coathanger Flasher – Off
Coathanger Flasher - On
Coathanger Flasher – On

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.

LED Torch Assortment (One UV)
LED Torch Assortment (One UV)

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.

Misc LED Fairy Lights - Off
Misc LED Fairy Lights – Off
Misc LED Fairy Lights - On
Misc LED Fairy Lights – On

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.

Kids' Party Lightsicks - Solid & Flash Modes
Kids’ Party Lightsicks – Solid & Flash Modes

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.

Quality Street - Essential For Gels!
Quality Street – Essential For Gels!

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.

Paris All Nighter 2012

Assis sous la tente grande
Assis sous la tente grande

I have heard of the London Flickr Meetup group’s trips to Paris for overnight shoots, but had always missed them in the past. However, this year, I decided to sign up. And so on Saturday afternoon I found myself on the Eurostar with 12 other Flickrites, heading for the French capital. The weather forecast was dry until after midnight, but promised a huge thunderstorm during the early hours – not what you want for a night of walking the Parisian streets!


Our first stop was La Défense, the modern end of the city on the outskirts, and part of the business district [see above]. It was supposed to be for sunset, but it was rather too cloudy for that. After a ride on the RER métro back into the centre of the city, we stopped at the Île des Cygnes to see the Statue of Liberty and get a good view towards the Eiffel Tower. This shot [left] nearly made it for Day #1615. But in the end, I went with something a little more conventional.

Le ruban visite de la Tour Eiffel
Le ruban visite de la Tour Eiffel

Then we walked to the tower itself and took a few pictures before the illuminations were switched off for the night. Getting hungry, our next stop was for pizza in the Champs-Elysées. On emerging, we realised the weather forecast was coming true, and trudged in the pouring rain up to the Arc de Triomphe, then back to the Trocadéro for a vantage point for sunrise at the Palais de Chaillot. Here, I wafted my lightsabre around for a bit while the rain let up briefly [see right], but it soon began to hammer down again. We realised there was no chance of seeing sunrise, so ran away to shelter under a bridge for a bit!

Jetons de l'amour sur le pont des Arts
Jetons de l'amour sur le pont des Arts

Several of the group then headed back to the Gare du Nord for their early train, but  five of us stayed on for more punishment. We managed to find some breakfast at Notre Dame (not easy early on a Sunday morning) and dry out a bit. Then we took a long stroll along the Seine to the Musee d’Orsay. On the way we saw the love tokens which had been attached to the Pont des Arts [see left]. Another long walk back via the Louvre brought us to our final stop.

Les trois singes de la sagesse
Les trois singes de la sagesse

I had not been to the Beauborg area and the Centre Pompidou since 1995, so it was good to return to see the colourful fountains and observe some street life. This shot [right] of three typical Parisians enjoying un café was a close contender for Day #1616‘s shot. They reminded me of the Three Wise Monkeys!

Then it was another walk to the Métro for the train back to Gare du Nord ourselves. No sooner had we sat down on the Eurostar for the return trip, than we were dozing – a much needed nap after nearly 30 hours awake.

London was busy on our return, with revellers from the Jubilee river pageant making their way home. Thankfully I got a seat on the train from Liverpool Street, or I might not have made it back in one piece!

It’s a pity the weather was so grotty for us, but it was still an enjoyable if very tiring event. I’m contemplating the London All-Nighter in a few weeks time – at least it won’t be as far to travel and if the weather forecast is iffy, it will be rather easier to bail out at short notice. We’ll see!