Reflection – Light Painting Learning Project

Major Project Option B: “Based on the idea that individuals are now more able to learn and share online, you will choose something significant that you would like to learn, and you will share your progress openly in an online space. The ‘something’ might be an instrument, a language, a sport or almost anything that requires more than a few hours of effort. Students should be prepared to spend 50-100 hours on this project. Regular documentation of the learning, including a before and after assessment, will comprise the assessment of this task.” – ECMP355 Course Syllabus

For this project, I combined art and photography and chose to learn about Light Painting which is also known as Light Photography or Light Graffiti. I had first seen light painting pictures from a friend on Facebook and I knew that this was something I wanted to do myself.

This project took a lot of time – I was amazed that when I looked back at the  log I kept, I spent just over 50 hours: trying different techniques, creating pictures and images, watching videos, looking for resources, sharing what I’ve learned with friends and looking at pictures and videos for inspiration.

If you haven’t seen any of the light painting that I have done, or if you have, I put together the following video highlighting some of what I have done:

*I used Screen-cast-o-matic because Windows Movie Maker would not play the animated gif images that I had created

My thoughts on this learning project:


  • I was fortunate that I had a DSLR camera and did not need to buy one. However, it is possible to create light painting photos with a point and shoot digital camera, however it requires a bit more effort and time.
  • I was able to purchase flash lights from the dollar store.
  • I used books and tables instead buying of a tripod.
  • There are thousands of amazing light painting photographs on the internet.
  • I was able to attempt to create any idea that came to mind.
  • The tutorials I found provided easy to follow instructions that allowed me to produce similar effects.
  • You can create photos using different iPad apps.
  • It is a great activity to do with friends.
  • This is something I would like to do with students in my own classroom one day.


  • Most of this project was done individually (a choice I made) and because of this, there were restrictions on the time I had to create a photo – the highest timer I had on my camera was for 30 seconds and after this time frame, the photo would produced.
  • A lot of the websites and tutorials I came across were almost identical to one another and it took a lot of time and searching to find new and different ideas and skills.
  • While I browsed through hundreds of photos online which inspired me, I had to be really creative in coming up with what I wanted to create. The videos and photos and tutorials did not tell me for example how to paint a dog, I had to figure this out for myself.
  • I could have been more creative.


  • I would have done this project with a partner.
  • I would spend more time perfecting one technique – for example light orbs
  • I wish I could draw better!
  • There are so many more different pictures I still want to create

Overall, this was a wonderful learning experience and it goes to show you can learn almost anything online. I am pleased with the variety of techniques I tried, the pictures I produced and that I was able to share with classmates and others my progress. It was meaningful when I was doing this project with Kirk and some of my other classmates as I was in the role of a teacher/expert and they were interested in what I was showing them. I was also neat to see how many people viewed my posts, commented on things that they liked and to be able to share my pictures through my  Flickr account and my posts through my Twitter account.

I hope to keep creating different pictures even though ECMP355 has ended, so be sure to check back for updates! But until then you can review my previous posts and images through the different pages I have created and other accounts that I have:



Light Painting with the Middle Years Crew

Yesterday, some of us from our Middle Years Education group got together. A few of them had been interested in the light painting project  I was doing for this ECMP355 class, so I told them that I would bring my camera and a few flash lights.

I explained to them the basic idea of light painting – in a dark room, you draw pictures using flash lights where the light shines toward the camera. The camera is on a manual setting which controls the lens and the shutter. When you draw, the camera captures the light and produces an image.

I was in charge of the camera and I let them try it out! We began with Kirk demonstrating how to draw a picture:

Then the others wanted to try. Here is what they came up with:


We did some group pictures:


We finished with some outlines:


Everyone had a great time, the pictures turned out great and I was happy to be able to share my learning with others. Thank you to everyone who helped me out!


Light Trails

I tried something new in regards to light photography/painting. I found the following website, How to Shoot Light Trails and after reading through it, I decided to give it a ago. Basically when you shoot light trails, you set your camera on a tripod, select the manual setting, have a low ISO number, a high aperture number and a low shutter speed. To see what all of those camera terms mean, I find this guide helpful which comes from Miguel Yatco.

Here is a great tutorial that walks you through the basics of shooting light trails:


So I picked tonight to give it a try, regardless of the drizzling rain outside. I couldn’t really seem to find any bridges in Regina or ones that put me above traffic so I opted for taking pictures while sitting in my car. It turned out all right I think (click to enlarge):


iPad Light Photography

This week, I borrowed my aunt’s iPad2. I opened up the AppStore and searched for light photography. I found the following app:

V Light Trip Long Exposure Photography – V Light Trip
(Click on the description to see it enlarged)

Basically, this app takes a video and puts the individual frames into one photograph, and blurs the moving images while keeping stationary objects in focus.

In my third light photography post, I created light orbs and decided to do this again using the iPad. It was easier with this app, because I did not have to worry about spinning the light in an exact circle, and it took only 5 seconds as opposed to 30 seconds to create the following images (Click the images to see them enlarged):


While the camera  on the iPad is not the same as my Nikon Dslr, the photos turned out pretty good!

Then, I tried to take some other photos using this app. The following are various shots from around Regina (Click to enlarge the images and see titles for each):


I would recommend this app. You can adjust how long you take the video for from 1 second to several minutes. It is neat to experiment with and you never really know how your pictures will turn out!


Ghosts, Music Video, Drumming – Light Painting

The post took a  while to compose, but it is my latest update for my learning projectLight Painting/Photography.

I started off by creating some ghosts.


Then as I was trying to find some inspiration and videos from YouTube about light photography, I discovered Kaki King:

“Kaki King’s childhood passions were the drums and Brit-pop, and she figured if she ever made it big it would be because of her skills behind the kit. However, her musical talents didn’t stop there: she also played the guitar, and though she learned Beatles and Fleetwood Mac songbooks, she found herself drawn to the styles of Preston Reed and Michael Hedges. Moving from Atlanta to New York to attend college, King got her first taste of solo guitar performance thanks to campus open-mike nights, and upon graduation in 2001 she decided to pursue the instrument more seriously. She started playing in subways, a venue that helped her develop her percussive technique, and when passengers would ask her if she had CDs, she realized that she could possibly make a living as a musician.”

Throughout the following video, light painting and stop-frame animation are techniques used:


and then I saw this one which describes how they created the light painting shown in the video – which is fairly detailed and I found it to be interesting.


I was inspired by the music video, and decided to create a video. Here are the steps I went through:

  1. I found a picture from when I was in honour band during high school.
  2. Then I took a photograph of myself sitting on a chair, there just happens to also be a guitar in the beside me. Coincidence??
  3. I drew music notes, a drum and drum sticks using the technique of light painting.
  4. I opened all of these photographs in Adobe Photoshop and started putting multiple images together.
  5. VirtualDrumming – a website that features a virtual drum set which lets you play sounds on a drum. I simply recorded the rhythm I wanted using my laptop’s  microphone.
  6. I needed to edit my drum recording,  so I downloaded Power Sound – a free sound editor. This program was fairly simple to use in terms of cutting up parts of the track and moving beats around. I only used it for a short period of time, but found it was fairly limited in that you could only have one track. However, there were audio effects and sound quality tools available. I would only use this tool to rearrange one track at a time if I was going to be putting multiple tracks together to create a song. I had forgotten that I had Audactity which is a better audio editing tool that lets you have multiple tracks and many effects.
  7. Then switched programs to Windows Movie Maker to create a video with stop-frame animation which is composed of several photographs that change within one second or less. Here, I combined my images and the drum sounds to produce my video.
  8. I used Freesound (a collaborative database of Creative Commons Licensed sounds. Browse, download and share sounds) to download the intro music to my video. – One should note that you have to create a free account before you can download sounds.