Which light painting tools are (almost) always in our bag?
One of the most frequent questions, whether formulated with words or expressed with a curious glance into the bag of a light painting colleague, is probably about the equipment we use. What torches, light brushes and other stuff we take with us on almost every outing and what we do with them is what I will describe in this article. As far as possible, I will include links to them. Some things you can’t just buy, though, so the light painting artist has to do it himself.
It is planned that in the near future some other light painters will give a glimpse into their bag. I hope that I can motivate some esteemed colleagues to do so.
1 – Spare batteries
2 – Magic Arm for attaching torches, prisms in front of the lens or similar.
3 – Matt black gaffa tape – no light painting without gaffa 😉
4 – Safety First – Strinlamp Fenix HM65R – bright, light, robust, waterproof and operates with 18650 “standard” battery
5 – E-cigarette as fog machine. Here you can find the article on this topic.
6 – Ball of Light by Denis Smith. I hardly ever shoot orbs with it because I’m too clumsy for that, but you can do a lot of other fun things with this tool.
7 – Fenix FD30 – small focus torch with 900 lumens, in the picture incl. holder for colour filters from Light Painting Paradise. The good focus system makes this lamp perfect for longer light painting tools. These can be illuminated evenly over the entire length.
8 – Fenix FD41 – robust focus torch, the bigger sister of the FD30.
9 – Fenix LR35R – 10000 lumen monster for illuminating large rooms or large areas outdoors. In the picture with filter holder from the 3D printer. You can find the article on the LR35R here.
10 – Fenix FD65 – Focus torch with 3800 lumens. This flashlight is usually used for lecture. Unfortunately, this gem is no longer in production and I could not find any remaining stock. The picture shows a filter holder from the 3D printer.
11 – 60mm acrylic colour filter for the Fenix FD65 and LR35R. This is an exclusive custom made filter by Light Painting Paradise. Filters of this size are not available elsewhere. If necessary, you could also work with spotlight foil, but in the case of the LR35R this gives off smoke signals after a short time because the lamp head gets very hot very quickly. Acrylic is a bit more heat resistant, although I have already melted an acrylic filter on the LR35R.
12 – Backlight scanner for the Fenix FD65 and LR35R incl. holder for colour filters.
13 – Emisar D4V2 – small, lightweight torch with a remarkable 3000 lumens. With CREE Led’s even over 4000 lumens are possible. I mainly use this light on the drone because of its light weight. It is also well suited for illumination without a drone due to the clean, homogeneous light cone.
14 – Lightpainter Ruy’s Lightworks – the ultimate light painting torch. You can find my contribution here.
15 – Convoy S2+ UV – small, powerful UV torch.
16 – Convoy S2+ with different colours. I assembled most of these lamps myself. Some variants are now available ready-made. However, they are not available in Europe. The only source I know is the Chinese manufacturer of the lamps.
17 – Light Scanner with a housing from the 3D printer and matching acrylic colour filters. A simple work lamp is also suitable for this purpose. You can find my articles about the scanner here.
18 – Round acrylic colour filters from Light Painting Paradise in two sizes. These fit into the filter holders for the smaller torches and into the adapters for the Light Painting Tools.
19 – Thick light guides in various sizes from Light Painting Paradise.
20 – Blades made of acrylic glass, either cut out by yourself or ready-made from Light Painting Paradise.
21 – Glass fibres in different colours from Light Painting Paradise.
22 – Adapter to connect torch and Light Painting Tool incl. colour filter in a simple way. In the picture you see adapters for round tools, for blades and the adapter for the Light Painters lamp. Both round tools and blades fit into this adapter.
23 – Acrylic glass rods, one with bubbles and one with a spiral.
24 – Fenix CL09 – small, lightweight camping light. I use this as a work light or to illuminate smaller areas. The lamp has a hook and a magnet in the back cover.
The camera, the lenses, the tripod and the camera rotation tool are not in the picture. You can find the article about camera rotation and kinetic photography here.
Currently we mostly use the Nikon D750 for our light paintings. Also always in the camera backpack are the Laowa 12/2.8 and the Nikkor 17-35/2.8, the latter is the only wide-angle zoom with an aperture ring. Only with a mechanical aperture ring is it possible to adjust the aperture during exposure. In addition, the imaging performance is beyond reproach, even many fixed focal lengths in the focal length range fall short. However, Nikon is paying a princely price of almost 2000€ for the 17-35/2.8.
We mount the camera on a Benro TMA48CXL including a Benro gearhead.
All our equipment is much more extensive than shown here. Much of it is either multiple or so special that we have only used it in very few pictures. We hardly use many of the older torches any more because there are now torches that are more powerful, smaller and lighter. The last time we used the thick Led Lenser X21, for example, was 2 or 3 years ago. By today’s standards they are far too big, too heavy and too weak.
In about 90% of our pictures from the last one or two years, almost exclusively the tools and torches from the picture were used, apart from costumes and the like.
Good light all the time