Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Light Painting!


You can set one of these up in a couple of hours:

Our family Christmas Tree - set up time: couple of hours can go with the following, which will take you less than 5 minutes with a little practice:

Light-painted Christmas tree - set up time: 252 seconds
Light-painted "Merry Christmas" - Dad's artistic handywork
I successfully convinced my family to help out and get involved in some light painting, which really didn't take much convincing at all in the end. Above is my version of our Christmas tree with my father working the camera. But as you can see from the image on the right, his light-painted "Merry Christmas" was much better than mine. Honestly it takes more than you might think to cross that "t" with such graceful precision and get the rest of the word in the right place.
Some of my Xmas Glow Sticks

I had put some glow sticks on my Christmas list and wound up with a whole pile of them. All you really need to have some fun with this kind of thing is a dark space and a few light sources...such as...glow sticks!!!

Serendipitously there was also some steel wool sitting downstairs in the basement of my father's workshop, which had been collecting dust for the past several years.

What better way to spend Christmas Day with the family than putting it use by lighting it on fire and swinging it around in the park after a hearty holiday dinner?!

Wire Wool Spinning

The last 2 wire wool spins above were actually carried out by Dad himself - way to go Dad!

If you missed the setup for this effect, you can check it out here - careful's highly addictive.

A couple of improvements since the last time: I found leaving the shutter open for a sufficient time to capture the surroundings with ambient light to yield a better final result. Last time I tried it I closed the shutter directly after the steel wool burnt out, which only took maybe 15 to 20 seconds or so at the most. Maybe next time I'll experiment a little more with trying larger amounts of wool at a time for a longer burn.

The other thing that really helped this time was using some steel wire to make a cage to enclose the wool. The wire was a thick enough gauge that it didn't burn/melt (some say that chicken wire, for example, just won't hold up), but it was less hardy than a coat hanger and therefore much easier to bend. I prepared a few of them before we even left the house and was all set to start lighting things on fire pretty much as soon as we arrived at the location and set up the camera!

And really what Christmas is complete without cuddly little "kiddens" that the parents just picked up a couple of weeks ago - bengal kittens - ridiculously...impossibly cute!

Bengal Cats (brother and sister) "Desi" and "Lucy"
Bengal Cats (brother and sister) "Desi" and "Lucy"
Light orb in Vancouver, Canada
Also just got back from Vancouver, where my family out there gave me an amazing string of battery powered Christmas lights that makes a perfect light painting tool. I've only had the chance to make one orb so far, but I definitely have more experiments to do on that front! But more on that later....

Merry Christmas to all those celebrating and all the very best of the New Year - to all a happy and successful 2011!

Oops! Have I missed something?! Help share resources by adding them with a short description in the comments section or write me and I'll make sure it gets posted!


Sandra said...

What an amazing and thorough post. Thanks for sharing.
Those kittens too cute and I love that your family helps you as you grow in your photography. Seriously, how long have you been doing this for?

shayne gray learns photography %$#! said...

Hi Sandra - thanks for the positive feedback! Those kittens are seriously unfathomably cute!
I've been into photography now for almost a year and have been trying out the blog only for a couple months now.

All the best of the Holiday Season to you and the (fast approaching) New Year!

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