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Early in 2016 I completed 3 weeks of assignment work for the US Agency DIGITAS LBI and their client Accenture. The brief was to create some interesting Light Painting images and animations using the pixel-stick.

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This is the story of how I fell in love with LightPainting Photography.

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Running with Fire – 2010

 

In 2010 my nephew Moritz from Germany stayed with us for several months here in Sydney. One day he introduced me to a new friend he made over here Tobias “Toby” Huehnlich, who is a very talented Fire Twirler. At the time I was experimenting a little bit with Lightpainting techniques using LED’s and flashlights , but I always thought that it was just a bit gimmicky.

When Toby gave us a Twirling Demo at our home I immediately thought that this was just too good an opportunity to pass up on and that we had to do some long Exposure Photography with him twirling his Poi and Fire Staff.

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Garie Twirl 1 – 2010

 

We decided to go down to Garie Beach in the Royal National Park just south of Sydney the next morning to give it a go.

We arrived a good hour before sunrise and basically started setting up shots straight away. I set up Nikon D700 with the 17-35mm F2.8 Zoom. Most of the images were shot with the following settings  ISO100 / f9 / 30s . I didn’t have a cable release or remote at the time, but managed to avoid any camera shake by carefully squeezing the shutter every time.

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Toby was great to work with and really nailed the directions I gave him. It helps working with someone that understands composition when shooting photos like “Running with Fire.

In a lot of the shots I tried to get as much out of the reflection of the fire on the sand and the water as possible.

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Three of the biggest take-aways from this shoot that really shaped my photography career were, firstly that I realised the limitless potential of Light Painting Photography, It is like adding a whole new layer to photography.

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And the second take-away was that I knew that LightPainting works a really well when shooting at a location and having an interesting backdrop, as well as being able to see reflections and spill of the light. It really puts the Light-Art into the context  of the scene and adds more depth to the picture.

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Lastly you have to have an open mind and play around when you create your images.

 

  • Use different movements and angle the light sources differently toward the camera
  • there are thousands of different light-sources you can use (LED Keychain Lights, Pixelstick, Torches, Flashlights, Sparklers, Steelwool, Carlights, etc.)
  • try different times at night. Is it a New Moon Dawn, Dusk, Full Moon. A bright full moon can add a lot of beautiful ambient light to your scene.

 

I really hope that I could at least inspire you a little bit to go out there and take some photos, because that is where your true inspiration comes from, when you find something that you can get passionate about.

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I will never forget the day, as this was the day I fell in love with Light Painting, It did enough to inspire me for years to come and I consider myself very lucky to have been able to create a business around this craft.

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Alexander Kesselaar is a Photographer and LightPainting Artist from Sydney Australia. Alex founded LightPaintLab in 2014 and has Painted with Light for companies such as Northline, Accenture, Bacardi, Tiger Beer, Telstra, Destination NSW and more.

 

For more info and awesome LightPainting Photos, check out LightPaintLab.com
You can follow Alex & LightPaintlab on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.


International Light Painting Award 2015 - Winners Announced
International Light Painting Award 2015 – Winners Announced


Light Painting with a Giant 2-Foot Ball of Steel Wool
Light Painting with a Giant 2-Foot Ball of Steel Wool

Steel wool is often done by lighting a small ball of steel wool on fire and then swinging it around in a long exposure photo while it burns.


How to Light Paint a Skeleton by Darren Pearson | Light Painting Photography
How to Light Paint a Skeleton by Darren Pearson | Light Painting Photography

Light Painting Tutorial, How to Light Paint a Skeleton by Darren Pearson


Virtual Reality Brush Painting Exhibition with the HTC Vive
Virtual Reality Brush Painting Exhibition with the HTC Vive

Tilt Brush is a made-for-VR painting program that lets you create anything and everything with the stroke of a virtual brush!


the pixelstick - LightPainting Portraits
the pixelstick – LightPainting Portraits

They say there’s nothing new under the sun (or nihil sub sole novum for you classic types) and everything has been done before.


Michael Bosanko's New Light Painting Series "Illuminating Artists" | Light Painting Photography
Michael Bosanko’s New Light Painting Series “Illuminating Artists” | Light Painting Photography

Michael Bosanko’s New Light Painting Series “Illuminating Artists”


The Incredible Light Painting Of JanLeonardo - DIY Photography
The Incredible Light Painting Of JanLeonardo – DIY Photography

A while back I stumbled on the light painting work of Jan Leonardo Wöllert, and was immediately taken. By now, you probably know all about light painting, but if not, it is the art of using bright objects to “paint” imagery in total darkness. As light hits the sensor it ‘paints’ the final image.


Light Painting with Roomba Vacuum Cleaners | Colossal
Light Painting with Roomba Vacuum Cleaners | Colossal

These photos have apparently been around for a while, but this is totally new to me. An enterprising group of robotic vacuum cleaner owners have used LEDs affixed to the top of their Roombas to create these amazing long exposure photographs. Check out Roomba art group for more.


These Portraits Are the Result of Eight-Minute, Light-Painted Exposures
These Portraits Are the Result of Eight-Minute, Light-Painted Exposures

Photographer Gary Schneider shoots portraits with a rather unusual technique.


This is What You Get When You Strap Fireworks to a Drone for Long Exposure Photos
This is What You Get When You Strap Fireworks to a Drone for Long Exposure Photos

Photographer Calder Wilson recently did some experimentation by attaching fireworks to a drone and then flying it around in a long exposure photograph.


What?

This is a hands-on, fun and social photography workshop for photographers, who have a keen interest in learning the Art of LightPainting and Night Time Photography.
During the 2 Nights you will learn the techniques, principles & history behind Long Exposure and LightPainting Photography. We will teach you how to use LED’s, lights, fire, the pixelstick & torches to create unique masterpieces. All of this in some of the most incredible locations Sydney has to offer.
You will walk away with amazing images and a great understanding of this type of photography.

 

When?

Saturday the 14th & Sunday the 15th of November

6pm to 12am

 

Where?

In and around the Sydney CBD.

Saturday Meeting Point – Fleet Steps

Sunday Meeting Point – Hickson Road Reserve

 

What?

Bring your DSLR or Mirrorless Camera, that can shoot in manual mode, Tripod and optional Cable release. Alex will supply the LightPainting Equipment, LED’s, PixelStick and more… Feel free to bring your own contraptions if you have any.

 

As a lightpainting artist living in Sydney. The Vivid Festival is an absolute must see event. So when I was contacted by advertising agency Iris Worldwide to help them to create a lightpainting app for Vivid, I jumped on board straight away.

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A few months ago an old friend from Film School Henry Zalapa contacted me to see if I could help him with an Idea he had for an Ad for Bacardi, using stop-motion light painting techniques. It was great to catch up with Henry and I think the guys at Bacardi liked what they saw as they used it for the opening and the end of the video. Here are a few of the stills from the motion sequence.

 

Here is the alternate directors cut by Henry:

The Game of Light 1 The Art of Football – The Beauty. The social. The Political. I’m excited to announce that these Lightpainting Artwork that I created specifically for this exhibition with the Help of Animator Brett Bower are featured alongside other incredible artists from all around the globe.  The Game of Light 3 The Game of Light 2 It is not often that you get to combine 2 of your biggest passions in a photo. In my case it doesn’t get better than this; Football and Lightpainting. If I could only find a way to incorporate coffee and it would be complete. Continue Reading..

This is a Video in the Asian Mega Cities Mini Series by Tiger Beer that features my Light & Fire Painting Photography. It was very interesting being in front of the Camera for once.

The Fire Artists on the shoot were the awesome Dan Farr & Kevin Lynch aka Kev Twirl.

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To celebrate the launch of LightPaint Lab, I thought it would be a good idea to hold a Lightpainting Photowalk here in Sydney. After spending about 3 months in front of a screen getting the website ready whilst still working on editing videos & photos for clients, it was about time to get out, pick up the Camera, LED Lights, Steelwool and have a little fun. To be honest, I was wondering if anyone is going to show up at all, you never know with these sort of things. The response had been good in the lead up, but I did not expect such an overwhelming response. I didn’t do an official head-count but I believe there were close to 40 photographers altogether, some even travelled from as far as Nowra and the Central Coast. There were a lot of familiar faces and a lot of people that I have only met online before, it was great to finally meet them in person and have a chat.

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I was really lucky to have Kevin Lynch aka KevTwirl there to perform some spectacular Fire-twirling and  Nate Burr aka Blunty, who shot this awesome Video of the night.

To start, I ran a little workshop with the aim of getting everyone up to speed with the basics. We then moved over in to the far corner of the beach where it was dark enough. Even though there were many that already had some experience in Lightpainting Photography, I tried to keep things fairly simple so that everyone could get the most out of our more experimental shots later on. Basically I just explained the principles of Lightpainting photography and the best settings to use to capture Light Trails in long exposures. For the first setup I just used a simple LED Torch for a little bit of Light Graffiti, before we moved on to using the Rainbow-LED Stick, Steelwool, Fire-Poi and staffs, Orbs and more. Here are some of my photos from the night, there are not many (I was having too much fun teaching and operating all the fun LED Gadgets).

It was my hope that everyone there would learn something new and walk away at least with one great photo – and I think most people did.  The overwhelming response to the Photowalk and the encouragement I received from everyone, prompted me to start putting together a LightPainting Photography Course and a MasterClass for more advanced Lightpainters. These classes should be up in the coming weeks and I am already planning for the next free photowalk so please stay tuned by signing up to the newsletter and following us on facebook, twitter and Google+ . Continue Reading..

Welcome!

Finally, after 6 challenging weeks of web design, countless coffees and sorting through Lightroom archives, it’s finally done. I am sure you all have a few questions about this new venture of mine and I am going to try to answer a few of them here in this post.

 

Why the name “Lightpaint Lab” ?

I have always been fascinated by Lightpainting photography and am delighted to be able to share what I know with you. It is interesting to note, that the word “photography” was created from the greek roots phōtos, genitive phōs ”light” and graphé ”drawing”, together meaning “drawing with light”. Which in essence makes every photograph, painting with light.

I really like the idea of a Laboratory. It means I can experiment, to constantly try new things and push the boundaries of what’s possible but at the same time allow myself to make mistakes and evolve. By the way if you find any spelling mistakes or find something is not working on the site, please let me know.

Secondly a lab is also a place to collaborate and work together. This is a big part of LightPainting, more often than not am I working with someone to create the images you see here. Eventually I would love to make LightPaint Lab a hub for the best Lightpainting Artists around.

Lastly when I hear the word lab I immediately imagine the smell of the chemicals in my old analog darkroom (may it rest in peace) . Crafting and delivering the best in fine art prints is a big part of this business and soon you will be able to purchase these from our gallery.

Northline Commercial Lightpainting-4

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