Long exposure night photography can be a fun pass-time especially on a cool summer evening.
"Light painting" can make things even more fun. If you've looked into light painting you've no doubt seen Orb's, spherical mystery lights....Orb photos are created by spinning bright LED lights.
This Instructable will show you an easy way to make a low cost orb creator and give basic instructions on how you can create your own mysterious Orb Photos
You don't need an expensive camera to take shots like these. Just one that can keep the lens open for 30 seconds or so.
A good option is an inexpensive Canon brand point and shoot and free CHDK (Canon Hack Development Kit) software see http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK . See the website for models supported.
Here is a flickr pool that shows more examples of Light Painting Orbs
Step 1: What's Needed
To make the Orb Creator, you'll need the following
- Power source - i used a 6V 4 AA battery holder
- Wire (approx 3ft) - I happened to have a power cord from an old swag lamp, worked great and featured an inline switch.
You could use old speaker wire or bell wire taped together.
- LED bulbs (3) - I pulled the 3 LEDs from some old Finger LEDs with burned out batteries
Any standard LEDs will work fine.
- Resistor (1) - it's a good idea to use a resistor to ensure the LED bulbs don't overload and burn out. I used a 100.00 ohm 5 Band resistor (Brown Black Black Black Brown)
Depending on how many LEDs and which type, you can validate the correct resistor here
- Electrical Tape - prevents shorting
- Wire Stripper
- Weight - something to weigh down the LEDs while spinning, old AA batteries would work fine, improvise :-)
- Soldering gun and solder
- Switch (optional) - you'll find it's easier to create orbs if you can turn on and off the lights while getting into position, but a switch is optional, you can either hide the lights or disconnect the battery pack.
- Breadboard (optional) - handy for testing things before soldering, you'll need some jumper wire as well.
Step 2: Test the Orb Creator LEDs Before Soldering
It's a good idea to test your Orb circuit before soldering things together. A breadboard is an inexpensive handy option for this.
In this picture, the green jumper wire is connected to the positive wire from the 6V 4-AA battery pack.
Positive connects to the resistor and the positive side of the 3 LED bulbs (the longer end of the LEDs is the positive side)
(the resistor can be placed inline in either direction)
The blue jumper connects the 3 LEDs in parallel to the negative side of the battery pack.
Step 3: Soldering Time
To connect the LEDs to the power cord, I used some scrap wire and stripped off about a 4 inch section.
Then I wrapped each LED (the longer positive end) around that stripped wire (red)
Next I soldered each the positive edges together .
Next solder the negative sides of the LEDs to the other spare wire
Solder the resistor to the incoming positive wire.
Step 4: Final Assembly of the Orb Creator
Now all that's left is to attach the wire to the LEDS and battery pack.
You can use an inline switch as shown in the image...or detachable power cables (also shown in the image) in order to easily turn on and off the LEDs.
Step 5: Create Some Orbs!
Now let's create some Orb photos.
To create an Orb you'll need:
- relative darkness
- a tripod or a way to set your camera on a sturdy rock or wall.
- camera settings - Turn your flash off and use "manual mode" or "night exposure" settings that leave the camera lens open for 30 seconds or more. Optionally set the camera for time delayed firing, use a remote trigger or have a friend press the trigger. Experiment!
Simple instructions for creating an orb:
- put your arm at a 90 degree angle and keep your hand at the same height while spinning.
- choose a spot on the ground and walk around that spot spinning the Orb Creator directly over that spot for at least 180 degrees
- Here's a video that explains it pretty well http://www.flickr.com/photos/twincitiesbrightest/3897516615/
Thanks for checking out my first Instructable!