Light Painting with WS2812 LEDs

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A friend of mine came into town for Christmas and I wanted to do some sort of photography project with him. A few months ago, there were some pictures floating around the internet from Stephen Orlando, who took LEDs and attached them to a kayak paddle and kayaked around a lake, and through rapids. You can see his whole gallery here at Motion Exposure Galleries.

Light Painting by Stephen Orlando

Light Painting by Stephen Orlando.

I wanted to do something similar. The first night wasn’t very organized. We went into the woods with just the LED strip, the chipKIT board (the uC32), and a battery. We didn’t like the result we got with just carrying the strip, so we found a stick and wrapped the strip around it. We just used the rainbow example sketch from Adafruit’s NeoPixels.

This was the first good one we got on the first night and I think it's the best.

This was the first good one we got on the first night and I think it’s the best.

Through the woods.

Through the woods.

At the observatory.

At the observatory.

More at the observatory.

More at the observatory.

On the field of the stadium.

On the field of the stadium.

The second night, we thought it would be a good idea to attach the LED strip to something more solid than a stick we found in the woods. I wasn’t as happy with this set, but we did get some awesome pictures. My favorite one from both nights was the one in the “Zen Staircase.”

Around the pond.

Around the pond.

In the "Zen Staircase".

In the “Zen Staircase”.

On the train bridge.

On the train bridge.

Under the bridge

Under the bridge.

Here are a few pictures of the setup we used. The LEDs on the stick are different than the ones we actually used, they are a higher density. I want to try it again. with the higher density ones to see what it would look like. Overall, I was happier with the ones from the first night. The patterns were less predictable and I really liked the way there were breaks in the lights from some of the LEDs facing away from the camera.

The stick.

The stick.

The whole level.

The whole level.

What have you been able to do with your WS2812 LED strip?

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