Tag Archives: LED

playing with lights with lauren

The final round of the 2019 Hutt Camera club completion asked for images that reflected movement. I wanted to do this using lights and particularly the combination of a long exposure with a pop of flash at the end so that you get both movement and frozen action in the same image.

One of the elements that I had acquired after we ran the national convention was a hula hoop with LED lights inside it. I posted for a model who could handle the hula and Lauren answered the call.

We set up a shoot in the garage which was a lot of fun because this is essentially a trial and error process with no two images being the same. Given that it would be very difficult to focus I set F8 as an aperture as this gave me a decent depth of field. Lauren was given a spot to stand on and with the lights on I focused on her in manual mode.

I started out with no light and took some tests shots of the hula spinning until I was happy with the result which was achieved with a 2 second exposure. We had to match the speed of the hula with the exposure. If the hoop was spring too fast or the exposure too long then you ended up with more of a blur (as in the image above).

For the full body shots the lighting was provided by strobes in a large softbox. These were metered to f8 so as to be balanced.

After some initial shots we then tried to mix it up and try to get the effect of a light dress. This entitled telling Lauren when to stop spinning and opening the shutter at the same time. This meant that the movement was in one direction.

At the end of the evening I tried something completely different. I put the light in a seven inch reflector with a grid and focused it at Lauren’s face. I then got her to move the hula in a pattern around her face. The image that was chosen was literally the last one taken on the night.

In the assessing it received a “commended” which gained me enough points to win the Advanced Grade Digital Photographer for the third time.

Playing with lights

The essence of dance. A composite of several shots
The essence of dance. A composite of several shots

Some time ago i saw some amazing images where a photographer had attached led lights to a canoeist paddles and recorded the movement. I knew that I wanted to the same but instead wanted to attach them to a dancers body and record the movement of the dance.

I bought a 5 meter string of lights at the end of last year but it has taken quite some time to find a dancer willing to take part. Margarita is a model as well as a champion ballroom dancer, so when she agreed to help out I was really happened.

The lights were wired to be powered from the mains, which was never going to work so I got a battery pack that could be connected to them. My daughter helped my by sewing some together some fabric into a belt containing a pocket for the batteries.

We has intended to use double-sided tape to attach the lights but this did not work to well so ended up trying them on with lengths of string.

We shot in a dance studio that has the advantage of a full length mirror. I set the camera on a tripod at f22 and shot 10 second exposures.Dancer-31 Dancer-20 Dancer-15 Dancer-1

At the end of the shot Margarita partner Erik joined and we changed the lights so they went around both of them.

Margarita & Erik
Margarita & Erik

I have now have other ideas to do in the future so stay tuned.