I finally got around to finishing off a spirograph light painting tool that I had put off for a while.  I’ve had this revamped version of an old wheel for a few years since TCB and I built it.

Since then, it has had 3-4 different sets of battery powered LED light strands mounted to it. This time, I had a super long red LED light strand so I knew it would create a massive amount of spirograph patterns.


The original wheel with its first LED lights mounted.

I had begun mounting the new lights onto my wheel about 3 months ago and after an hour or so I had given up due to the tediousness of placing each light in place and meticulously cutting out  little strips of black duct tape. After that, I just never got around to finishing it… Until last week!

Last Sunday, motivation struck and I completed the wheel. The next day at work, I was excited and anxious to get down into a drain and test it out.  As I was preparing to head home and get ready, I realized there was a forecast for rain! I was hesitant to go alone with a chance of rain, but knew the drain I was going to should be safe. Even if it were to start down-pouring, it had several close exits.

I arrived at the tunnel at 6:30 p.m. and immediately started light painting. I was super excited with the results from my new wheel. The patterns looked pretty exquisite.


I kept on testing it out and decided to try adding some colors to the drain. I took out my gels and lit up one half of the tunnel yellow and the other half orange, to compliment the red LED’s. It ended up looking pretty awesome!



The pitch black circle in the center made me want to add a second subject to the image with a double exposure, but I was not prepared for that. So I decided it would be a project for my next drain session. After several more tests and experiments I attempted to illuminate myself and the light wheel as a behind-the-scenes type image. I did it at the opening of the smaller tunnel and noticed that when I lit up the shot, the corrugated metal looked really cool and added visual interest, so I took out my gels again and lit up the walls. This time I used pink and yellow and it looked awesome, but my illuminated self wasn’t really showing up well or adding to the overall shot, so I scrapped it for one last shot. I looked at my watch, and two hours had gone by! It was a successful session of testing with some great results, the wheel is going to have a bright future.