A number of my Flickr buddies, Mark and Mark, have been encouraging me to join Flickr project related groups and stretch myself photographically. As well as looking at the great work of other Flickr members I’ve also been checking out sites like Joey L , Strobist by David Hobby, getting tuns of ideas. One key thing I took from Strobist is to be creative with light, be it on a large scale or small…

I first played with a high output LED to create this with a LEGO Minifigure. With memories of a great Halloween party flooding back after hearing Kyle’s “Better The Devil You Know”I thought I’d give the LEGO lighting idea a go on a larger scale. I didn’t want to hold a strobe in my hand as it’s too big and wouldn’t throw its light in all directions. The answer – a spare 12V bulb from the car and a old PC power supply. (Black + Yellow = 12v)

I took an old hanger and made myself a support for the bulb that would keep it in my palm, close enough to get the right effect but far away enough not to burn my hand. Warning! These bulbs get rather hot! The hanger itself provides one half of the power feed, a wire taped to its side provides the other. A long flex ran from the hanger up my sleeve and on to the power supply.

I did a proof of concept shot and tried to recolour it in editing packages.

The results were just not good enough no matter what I tried, a £4 pack of face paint was the answer. Sorry to disappoint anyone who thought I did everything in the GIMP!

I then took a picture of a firework explosion and set the alpha channel to black, making it transparent and layered it on top of the photo, putting the center of the explosion above the center of the light. I created another layer below it with the original photo and used a large brush erase tool to remove the fingers from the upper layer so they’d be free of fireworks, making it look like the explosion was held in my hand. Finally I added in a zap effect in the same way, setting the alpha channel to black.

So my tip for anyone wanting to light a set, big or small, don’t just think strobe, think about LEDs and bulbs and have some fun with what you’ve got at hand :o)