Dizzy Daisy

Light contraption

Light contraption
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Behind The Lens

I took this photo in my home in Ga. I cleared out an area in my dining room to set up the contraption, and to make sure I had enough room to move the tripod around.
This was shot around 2 am! I am a night owl, so you probably won't see many early morning shots from me. I had all the blinds closed to block out streetlights, my fiance was upset with me because she had to shut off the television and close her laptop. I even powered down any appliances that produced light in the kitchen to reduce noise pollution as much as possible.
This photo is interesting since the subject mainly consists of light, and the background the lack thereof. I got ahold of these standalone LED beacons a long while back when I got into disc golf. I knew they'd be perfect for the shot when the idea popped in my head. Exposure was the main concern. I wanted it long enough to give it some pop, but short enough so as not to reveal too much of the background. It took quite a while to get the formula between f stops, and shutter speed right. and I ended up at f/16, with a 4 sec. exposure. I also played around with the positioning of the LEDs since the pattern was very flat and boring in the beginning. I changed my camera angle to look at the contraption from the side, and positioned the LEDs so they all weren't traveling on the same plane, if that makes sense.
I used a Nikon D5000 with a Nikkor 50mm 1.8G lens, And my tripod is an old aluminum Velbon hand-me-down that's pretty darn sturdy. For the contraption, I tore apart an old CD player for the motor, hot glued some kebabs to it to with the LEDs attached, then hot glued the motor to the 9V battery that would power it. Then I took the 9V and hot glued it off center to another motor that spun slower.
I was really interested in long exposures for lightning, and light painting when I came across a guy on youtube that used lights to make his subjects, rather than just painting with them. I saw a couple of examples that he did, and my imagination just took off! I immediately started rummaging through the attic for obscure items to strap lights to!
The only post processing done in this photo was to add a very small amount of contrast. That's it!
In my camera bag
I use a Nikon D5000, and my favorite lens is the Nikkor 50mm 1.8G. I think it works fantastic with the crop sensor, and I can usually make it work for most applications. The other lens I enjoy playing around with is the Tokina 11-16mm wide angle. Throw in a couple ND filters, and my old tripod and I'm set.
I would say to fill the frame as much as possible so you don't have to crop it in post. Use a high f stop so you won't have issues with focus, and turn on the long exposure noise reduction if your camera allows. I use the live view mode, and exposure delay to keep vibration to a minimum. Try to eliminate as much light coming from external sources as possible, it really helps. And as for the LED beacon lights, I'm not sure if they make them anymore. I think you can still find some on amazon, or you can make your own setup using a 3v battery and regular LED lights (throwies). The last bit of advice would be to get creative! Go into mousetrap building mode, set a long exposure and see what happens. I hope this helps, and thanks for having me!

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