Rodney Campbell's Blog

Testing a New Programmable Orb Light Painting Tool…

by on Nov.07, 2012, under Life, Photography

I recently built a new Programmable Orb Light Painting Tool.

In a future post I’ll detail more about the construction of the tool (with photographs of the home made disaster :)) – for now I’ll just list the components…

– an Arduino (Uno) (basically an open-source electronics prototyping platform – basically a programmable micro controller with inputs, outputs and other goodies)
– an addressable chain of RGB LED pixels (basically a bunch of LED lights which can be driven to display any of millions of colours – I’ve used a dozen here)
– a battery case (to hold 6 x rechargeable AA’s)
– a switch, about 1.5m of cable and a 5.5mm/2.1mm barrel power plug
– A round plastic food storage container
– a wire coat hanger
– a dog lead
– a soldering iron
– a drill
– some wire, header pins (90 degree), solder and electrical tape

For now I’ve just programmed the LEDs to cycle through a rainbowish swath of colours. Tonight I went out at twilight and gave it a try to see how this bizarre creation would work. Note – the actual landscape I’ve used here is pretty boring (I just went to a local oval where it would be dark). This was just to test the tool and see how the orbs would look.

Note: These images (especially the wider shots) look much better when larger – so click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay slideshow gallery viewer.

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 19 mm, 74.00 sec at f/16, ISO 100

this second with a quick touch of light painting on the stones and ground with an LED torch as well

NIKON D600 + 16.0-35.0 mm f/4.0 @ 16 mm, 150 sec at f/11, ISO 100

My initial thoughts…

– this tool is a lot brighter than my previous orb making tool (which was just one or two fixed colours) – the LED spread is also wider – this means I don’t have to spin the tool for anywhere near as long or for as many rotations – the ones here were two slowish rotations but I reckon I could get away with doing them quicker – my previous tool required at least four slow rotations to burn in
– I reckon I need to program less blue and more other colours
– the dog chain was a good idea but I’ll need to wear gloves in future since the rope rubs on the fingers when you spin it

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