We’re Moving!

Howdy Hackers,

This weekend we’re moving shop to our new location, which is about a mile closer to downtown Boulder from where we are currently. If you want to join in the moving fun, we’ll be starting around 10 am on Saturday.

Our next official weekly Tuesday meeting – August 2 – is up in the air at this point since we may not be moved in enough to have a meeting at our new place. Check back on our website and/or the Google Group when we get closer for where we’ll meet on August 2.

New address: 5311 Western Ave, Suite 115, Boulder CO, 80301. Our entrance is on the west side of the building.

Map from our old space to our new space:

View Larger Map

Special thanks to Lee for taking the lead on finding us this great new space!

Light Painting

Light painting is a technique where you take photographs in near-darkness with a long exposure time. Only things that light falls on (and/or the lights themselves) will show up. Some side effects of the long exposure are that moving lights tend to show up with a neon-like effect, while moving non-light objects may appear ghost-like or do not show up at all.

I’ve been experimenting with light painting for a few months now, getting the idea from an Ignite Boulder presentation in March. The camera I use is a Nikon D40 SLR, which allows me to manually set for up to 30 seconds exposure time. After photographing various wearable-LED projects and trying to write everyone’s name in sparklers, I brought my camera to July 4th’s fireworks festivities. One problem: I didn’t bring a tripod, and no matter how still I held the camera, there were always some flaws in the photos. About half way through the show I decided to just give in to experiment and started moving the camera around. The results were pretty abstract and surreal, I want to try more of this! Moving your camera around like this is also called “camera painting”.

Here are some guidelines and tips for doing light painting:

  • The key ingredients are setting a longer exposure time, having enough darkness and “painting” with a light source.
  • A tripod (or tabletop, etc.) is a must for any stationary work, or you can move the camera around for more abstract effects.
  • Zoom out all the way if possible for maximum sharpness (I forgot this with many of the sparklers).
  • If your photos have too much ambient light and you can’t control it, try reducing the exposure time.
  • In addition to setting the time, I also needed to set my lens to manual instead of autofocus.
  • A remote is good to have for self-portraits and/or minimize further camera shake. And/or get to know where your timer setting is.
  • Image processing: spelling names in fireworks or making shapes with camera painting means you’ll want to flip the photos horizontally and/or vertically after you upload them.
  • A little planning goes a long way – for instance with the sparkler painting, make sure you have enough room and enough time to complete a name, and consider how you will dot i’s and cross t’s.
  • Handwriting seems just as good or bad in the air with light as on paper with a pen – I should have had Tina and Sue write more of the sparkler names for me!
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. That’s how I stumbled on the camera painting!