Light Painting: Wheel in the Sky


The wheel in the sky keeps on turning, but with these simple tips you can keep on rolling to light painting heaven.

So many folks have been asking me about how I have done these whacky wheels and here it goes. First let me say that I didn’t invent this and I searched around the internet and found many tips from other great folks and just applied the techniques to film photography.

  • So I built my wheels by buying some black foam board and then using clear tape to attach the EL wires and LED lights or light swords or whatever kind of fun light toy to the foam board.
  • Then I used duct tape to tape the whole foam board thing to the handle of a paint roller that I bought at the dollar store.
  • Now I take the wire part of the paint roller that normally has foamy paint grabber thing on it but in this case is just the wire circle part and I use more duct tape to tape that onto the top of a tripod. Then I am ready to set up my camera on another tripod and get ready to make the room or outside nice and dark.
  • So in the dark I open the shutter of my b mode camera letting the shutter stay open. Then I get behind my weird windmill rig thing and turn the lights on using whatever weird battery pack I’ve taped to the back of the foam board. Now you just turn the foam board paddle around in a circle.

Remember you can also attach any kind of crazy toy that has enough room to spin around onto the tripod rig. Here you see this weird circle plastic thing that looks like a pair of antlers, well that works same way as the “windmill” style wheel but because the two plastic things that are covered in lights are at a different angle you get that weird pink and blue star burst black hole looking thing you see in my gallery.

No matter what you tape to the tripod rig the paint roller goes in a circle so its really really easy. All the other tricks you see here with the profiles and the people popping out of the wheels, well that is for you to figure out how to do! Have fun with it, I hope to see all kinds of folks trying it out. Oh also remember to shut your shutter before you turn the lights back on in the room, but I’m sure you already guessed that. Enjoy the gallery y’all.

written by kylethefrench on 2012-03-30 in #gear #tipster #b-setting #fiberoptic #el-wires #led #toys #tipster #long-exposure #tutorial #art #light-writing


  1. 134340
    134340 ·

    Great work!

  2. eva_eva
    eva_eva ·


  3. icuresick
    icuresick ·


  4. sirio174
    sirio174 ·

    great colors!

  5. joseman
    joseman ·

    Awesome!! I must try this

  6. domemerson
    domemerson ·

    Thanks, my friend, to let us know.

  7. pelorucho
    pelorucho ·

    awesome pics!

  8. mafiosa
    mafiosa ·

    Thanks for sharing your technique. Your results are always amazing.

  9. vanilajan
    vanilajan ·

    wow~so this is how the rainbow works!!!!this is so cool!

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