Ian Hobson: Lightpainting with the Lomo'Instant Wide


Self confessed “camera-botherer” and lightpainter extraordinaire Ian Hobson took the Lomo’instant Wide out after dark and captured some mesmerizing shots using a Pixelstick and some burning wire wool.

Photos by Ian Hobson

Please introduce yourself.

I’m a Tyneside based camera-botherer and lapsed neuropharmacology graduate who first started waving lights at cameras back in the days when all photography was analogue.

First impressions of the Lomo’Instant

It’s bigger than the other Lomo’Instant camera. Also, it’s substantially lighter than a DSLR which comes in useful when you’re dragging a kitbag full of LEDs on sticks and an overly heavy tripod intended to minimise camera shake during long exposures. Crucially for me, it has Bulb Mode, which allows more complex light paintings to be created.

Photos by Ian Hobson

On shooting with the Lomo’Instant

It behaved itself admirably. The inclusion of the wide angle lens and it’s viewfinder attachment was a bonus, as during those long bulb mode exposures, shorter focal lengths come in useful for letting more light in to allow the background to register in dark conditions. I found the remote control lens cap to be a novel idea, and though it doesn’t fit to the wide angle lens, as long as you remember which pocket you put it in, it comes in very useful for closing the shutter whilst away from the camera. This can be useful for light painting, as it allows the shutter to be closed (and hence stops formation of more light trails on the film) whilst the lights are still switched on, so you have time to fumble about finding the off switch on your light source.

Photos by Ian Hobson

About the photos

For the first cartridge, I chose to visit the beach as at night, there is minimal light pollution, meaning there is less ambient light to compete with the LED light creating the light trails. Also, at low tide, wet sand offers opportunities to catch some snazzy reflections from the light trails. There’s also enough space that one can wield a Pixelstick without fear of whacking it against a wall or suchlike. Though it helps to have a folding camping chair so the Pixelstick can be laid down without dunking it in wet sand. Saltwater not being the most ideal maintenance routine for fancy electronics. It’s also a safe place to spin burning wire wool, as wet sand doesn’t seem keen on catching alight when hit by stray sparks.

For the second cartridge of 10 shots, I chose to shoot under a series of bridges in Tyneside, as they cut out a lot of the ambient glow from street light reflected from cloud. It also allowed me to experiment with the Instax Wide mounted on a bespoke camera Rotation Device using distant streetlights as source light, whilst providing large, dark shadows to prevent the image bleaching out.

Photos by Ian Hobson

Lomo’Instant Wide shooting tips

It’s worth experimenting with the multiple exposure mode whilst in bulb mode. It allows you to superimpose a light painting on a background of different scale. In the absence of a Camera Rotation Device, bulb mode and MX mode also allow the camera to be tilted and panned on the tripod head to create light trails from light sources such as streetlight or advertising panels. A crucial thing to remember though, as with any instant camera, it to take something to protect your prints when they emerge. In the dark, it’s easy to fumble, and having a CD wallet prevents the prints acquiring smears of thumbprints, scratches or dust.

2016-02-11 #people #soho #instant #dark #showcase #london #uk #lightpainting #bulb-mode #lomoamigo #tyneside #pixelstick #ian-hobson #lomo-instant-wide #instantshowcase

Mentioned Product

Lomo'Instant Wide

Lomo'Instant Wide

We're thrilled to introduce the Lomo'Instant Wide — the world's most creative instant wide camera and lens system! Combining high quality craftsmanship with versatile features, the Lomo’Instant Wide is the instant camera for any and every person who revels in capturing every beautiful, bizarre and bewildering moment in a creative, super wide, crisply sharp and perfectly exposed way.


  1. hannah_brown
    hannah_brown ·

    amazing stuff

  2. pan_dre
    pan_dre ·

    Awesome shots!!

  3. snoop
    snoop ·

    amazing lightpaintings!

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