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.

Wheel

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.

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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!

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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.

-Johnny