Light Painting with BAME



Earlier this month, the Tinkering Studio hosted our first BAME meet-up of 2017 with a Light Painting activity. Lianna and I had been prototyping Light Painting for an after school program that we teach at Lighthouse Community Charter School and wanted to test out some tools and techniques with the educators in the meet-up group. Light painting is the process of taking long exposure photographs while moving a light source across a camera’s field of vision. A wide variety of effects can be achieved with this method, from spelling out words to creating abstract patterns and colors.


We encouraged participants to iterate on their ideas throughout the evening. When doing this activity, it often requires multiple trials to achieve desired effects. When Lianna and I tested our ideas in the Learning Studio, it was not unusual for us to create two or three images before we were satisfied. We also found that trying an idea easily lead to other ideas, and we wanted the members of BAME to also have these experiences.

After initial experimentations with different lights and effects, we saw the educators test and redesign their ideas throughout the event. They made modifications to the execution and design of their images, and improve on the clarity of their initial ideas. We saw participants find make silhouettes ...


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... create a beach scene ...

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... and discuss with one the way in which they wanted to make their next image. The collaboration and creativity in the room was infectious!

For those who are curious, below are resources for our camera set-up. Generally speaking, we set our aperture (or F-stop) very high and our ISO very low. For our cameras (a Canon Powershot G11 and a Nikon V2), we used the following settings:

• Use the small wheel to change the setting to “M” for manual
• Use the big wheel to set the ISO on “100”
• Set the f-stop to highest number possible, F8
• Change the exposure time using the click wheel and the top right button

Nikon V2
• Change the ISO to the lowest setting, 160
• Set the f-stop to F11
• The top-right click wheel is the length and has a “bulb” setting, or “B”, and will keep the camera shutter open by holding down the button

For BOTH cameras
• Use a HDMI mini to HDMI to attach a camera to a monitor
• To display images on a monitor, click on the play button, symbolized by the arrow pointing right, as images won’t show up automatically

We also used a free app called Pablo that creates long exposure pictures and as well as video capturing the entire process.

Thanks to all who participated! For more information and inspiration on Light Painting, check out this resource. For more information about the Bay Area Maker Educator meet-up, check out the Google+ page.

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