Lab 30 Jan 2017

Sensory Experiences: Exploring Light Painting with Motion Exposure

Stephen Orlando’s Motion Exposure Light Painting Photographs of the hypnotic manoeuvres of a Kayaker’s paddle dipping in and out of water took the internet by storm last year. In our bustling lives of visual overdose, we take a moment to meditate on these beautiful images.

As a professional Engineer with a love for Aerodynamics, Stephen Orlando, the Canadian experimental artist shares that he is “fascinated with capturing motion through time and space into a single photograph.”

He is inspired by techniques of Étienne-Jules Marey, Anton Giulio Bragaglia, Gjon Mili, Frank Gilbreth [and] the large outdoor installations of Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Stephen exposes the “flow” or “story of movement” of familiar objects “using LED lights with custom colour patterns and long exposure photography.”

The Kayaking pictures are a result of his collaboration with four-time Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden. The path and motion of the paddle is traced with the attached LED lights pre-programmed to change colour at specified intervals. For instance, some of the lights were programmed to create images, such as Canada’s Maple Leaf, while others have longer intervals to create a stop-motion-like effect.

Adam shares “This project represents something really exciting for me; a really unique intersection of technology, sport and art.” Similarly, Stephen has created a series of images exploring the movements in Soccer, Tennis, Cross Country Skiing and Karate to name a few.

These enamouring visuals are created sans photoshop tricks and are not composite images. They are a result of careful scientific observation and intensive planning and preparation for a brief window of 20 minutes, within which the ambient light and LED contrast effectively.

Stephen elaborates, “for these photos, the camera’s shutter is open for approximately 10-30 seconds, during which time the camera’s sensor is collecting light. Since the photos are taken in low light conditions, the only things that will show up in the photo – the only things emitting enough light to be picked up by the sensor – are either very bright, or stationary. The trees in the background are dark but stationary, so they get exposed in the photo. The LED lights are very bright so they emit a large amount of light for every point in space and get exposed in the photo. The kayaker and the canoeist do not emit much light and since they’re moving, they’re not in the same spot long enough to be exposed on the camera’s sensor. Timing is the biggest challenge to taking these photos.”

Another such project that caught our eye is that of Musical Instruments. Attaching LED lights to the bow of a Cello, he has captured the motion of Bach Cello Suite No. 1 – Prelude which resembles a waterfall of light. He went a step further while photographing the bowing movements on a Violin, even presenting the tune played below each image. Perhaps, this is what seeing music is like. Imagine an entire orchestra!

Checkout all his projects in Motion Exposure’s Gallery where you can purchase Stephen’s images and follow his collaborations.

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