Thirteen lucky photographers attended the Light Painting workshop at the Dubuque Camera Club meeting on Monday, October 21, 2019. We were a few days past fine weather, so most of the meeting was spent inside. Participating club members brought tripods and gear.
Club president Ron Tigges, with assistance from Willie and Jennifer, arranged a goodie table with a variety of light painting gadgets. Ron started the meeting with a slideshow presentation of light painting techniques and images. He learned about some of these techniques during an N4C event.
The most elaborate tool that he showed us was a pixel stick. “The pixel stick is kind of like voodoo,” said Ron. It contains color-changing LEDs with built-in flash card. You can preload small images that display as you walk. The images are invisible to the eye but can be captured with a camera.
Later, when people set up their cameras for long exposure, the first pixel stick surprise was a Blufftops & Visions logo. The flames were really popular too. There were also some spooky images on the pixel stick. They were photographed in the dark woods by a few brave souls who ventured outside toward the end of the meeting. See the Pixel Stick website for more about what it can do.
Believe it or not, the type of cheap lighting that is sold for rave parties is ideal for light painting. Ron tied a bunch of fingerlights on a string and spun them around for a homemade globe spinner. The secret is to mark the spot with a piece of tape to stand on. This ensures that your globe (or light orb) has a center. Here’s a picture that he took for practice:
“Be creative. Try all the different stuff,” said Ron at the meeting. Free-hand options may be made from simple items you have at home, such as a flashlight or headlamp. Put clear plastic tape over a white flashlight and color the tape with a marker for a “gel” effect. Some flashlights can be set to display a strobe. Try a small strobe to paint twinkling stars behind a model. Remember, if you don’t want your model to show in the final image, they should be dressed in black or dark colors.
Another funky option shared at the meeting was an LED color change hoola hoop. It’s possible to get a “beam me up, Scottie” effect when the hoop is raised from the floor to above the model’s head. A couple of seconds of flashlight used as a spotlight completes the effect. Willie Tigges, dressed in black for the light painting demonstration, was the hoola hoop model.
At the meeting, people were setting their cameras at about 20 seconds. To do light painting, place your camera on a tripod and set it for long exposure. Pre-focus on a spot, then set it on manual so the focus doesn’t drift. To get a neat effect, you’ll need to experiment with the exposure triangle (ISO, aperture, and shutter speed).
“It’s all about the movement,” said Ron. At the meeting, the lights were moved, and the cameras were still. You could also theoretically move the camera. [Here’s a tutorial about kinetic light painting from Digital Photography School.]
Lori Burrows joined Willie in adding light trails to the scenes. With the addition of light sabers (yes, Star Wars toys!), the club succeeded in taking some adventuresomely weird pictures. Henry Matthiessen III volunteered to serve as model.
“It kind of hearkens back to original photography,” said Ron. “When you go back to the darkroom, it’s a surprise. Then you build more light in that image.” The resulting images are spellbinding!
Last chance to see the Reflections exhibit: Nov. 10
We are proud of the terrific photography by the twenty Dubuque Camera Club members who participated in this year’s Reflections exhibit at the Dubuque Museum of Art. We have heard positive feedback from several visitors to the show. The museum has even asked us back for 2020!
Have you taken your friends and family to see the Reflections exhibit yet? It contains 25 photos on metal, and is located upstairs in the balcony gallery. You can see it any time the art museum is open. See the DuMA website for hours.
If evenings work best for you, here’s an option: Fall Into Art, the downtown Dubuque tour of art galleries on Friday, Nov. 1 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Your last chance to see Reflections will be Sunday, Nov. 10, the final day of the exhibit. ** Club members, your Reflections prints will be returned to you at the club’s holiday potluck party on Monday, December 9th. **
Digital Dubuque photos of Voices murals. The photos of club president, Ronald Tigges, are being used in a display at Clarke College’s Quigley gallery (in the Atrium building). This photo and video exhibit is about the Voices Production murals of downtown Dubuque. The Clarke gallery is open Monday-Friday: noon to 5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday: 1-5 p.m. Stop by and take a look before the exhibit closes on November 6, 2019. Free.
Broad Ideas, the annual woman-oriented art show at the Galena Center for the Arts, is accepting submissions from now through Feb. 2, 2020. You can submit up to three items. The exhibit starts in mid-February. We’ve had a couple of club members participate in the past. This is an amateur show, but it is in a wonderful community venue, and they also have several events planned. Learn more on the Broad Ideas website.
Wisconsin nature photos wanted. Have you ever taken a field trip with the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin? They just opened their annual photo contest. Prizes are a nice set of binoculars or a t-shirt. Entries must have been taken on one of their field trips. Deadline is Sunday, Nov. 17. Find more info in their newsletter. NRFW nature field trips range across the state of Wisconsin, with some as close as LaCrosse or Madison, so definitely keep this opportunity on your radar for 2020. NRFW is also seeking Wisconsin nature photos from pro shooters:
Are you a professional photographer?
Consider supporting our work by sharing the rights to some of your photos that showcase Wisconsin’s lands, waters, or wildlife for us to use in our print or digital marketing. Please contact jaime.kenowski@WisConservation.org if interested.
Photo Pro in Cedar Rapids has some interesting workshops and events coming up. On Friday and Saturday, November 1 & 2, they will hold their annual Cash for Cameras event, featuring used gear. Tamron and Sony reps will lead workshops. Here’s a link to the Photo Pro events listings. You can also follow their Facebook page.
Our friend Mark Dierker, from Bear Dancer Studios, will be operating a pop-up shop on the Central Avenue Curve (2230 Central) during the months of November and December 2019. Mark creates fine art photography, including outstanding images of storms, nudes, and ruins. To learn more, visit his website or follow Bear Dancer Studios on Facebook.
Fall Into Art, the free downtown Dubuque tour of art galleries, will be held on Friday, November 1, 2019 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. The Telegraph Herald ran a nice overview of this event in their Oct. 24 issue.
The Dubuque Museum of Art (701 Locust St.) is one location on the Fall Into Art tour. It’s your chance to see the Reflections exhibit by the Dubuque Camera Club, located in the balcony gallery!
Next club meeting
The next Dubuque Camera Club meeting will be held on Monday, November 4 at 6:30 p.m. N4C submissions are due before the meeting. Submitting to N4C competition is one of the perks of membership. Club members, watch your email for a reminder.