Light Painting London with the Pixelstick

I'm a self-confessed photography gadget geek. When I heard about the Pixelstick in 2013, I immediately saw the potential for my creative urban photography.

The commercial applications should not be overlooked by a photographer like me often working with London based creative agencies, PR companies, etc...

In short the Pixelstick (by Bitbanger Labs) is a light painting tool. It's a programmable 2m high stick which features 198 LEDs and an SD card slot to import your own creations.

Think of each LED as an individual pixel so you can create bitmap (.BMP) images of 200 pixel high in Photoshop (they can otherwise be any length really) and import them via the SD slot into the Pixelstick.

Photographing on a long exposure, walk right to left facing the camera and at a steady pace. The Pixelstick pretty much "draws" that image in the air which your camera captures (your eyes will only see a sequence of what seems like random flashing lights instead).

The following is a photograph I made for Peugeot UK's new 208. The whole project was revolving around cinemagraphs but I added value by delivering this little extra and the client loved it!


See below an example of what I came up, light-painting my logo which I shot a few times, creating an animation, a GIF with the Pixelstick. (This was shot using the E-M5 Mark II but reduced in quality for acceptable load times).


Luckily my lovely assistant was here to trigger the camera while I was handling my stick (sounds terribly wrong I know).

It could otherwise be awkward shooting it alone, using a self timer and running around like a loony. It got me thinking. Using the nifty Triggertrap sound trigger/sensor could be the solution when out shooting alone for ease of use and more consistency.

I don't know about you but I can see a lot potential for it.

Here's another I have prepared for Street Photography London:


Of course if you do a quick search on Google for "Pixelstick" you'll find poor examples of cheesy, tasteless photos seriously lacking creativity. But isn't that the case in any approach to photography? 

What that shows is that this is just a tool/brush for light painting, but it doesn't take away the fact the photographer has to have clever ideas, tasteful ideas and execute them well to take this in the right direction.

Just like any photography, there are good and bad examples out there.

Have a look here at original Bitbanger Labs' video showing some of what can be achieved with the Pixelstick. I think we're only scratching the surface of what can be done and with time we'll see many more mind blowing photos and animations created with the Pixelstick.

As for me, I now have a truck load of ideas parked outside my flat to deal with.

I can safely say the coming year is looking very exciting for my urban photography!