Shooting Top-Down Light-Painting Photos Using a Drone

Shooting Top-Down Light-Painting Photos Using a Drone

There are a couple of different ways to use drones for light-painting. Some people will attach LumeCubes to their drone and paint an environment with them or will fly a drone around the sky or an object and have the drones lights creating images in the sky. However, there is another way to use them that isn’t widely used yet: using the drone’s camera to capture light-painting from above.

Drones are becoming more and more popular these days and it’s not too expensive to buy one and play with its possibilities.

Note: Always be aware of your surroundings when flying a drone and make sure that the area you are in allows drones in it. This includes following FAA regulations and noting the current airspace you are in. With top-down drone light-painting, this generally shouldn’t be an issue but you should be aware.

In order to do top-down drone light-painting, I recommend having an assistant to get the drone in the right spot and monitor your position to make sure you are centered and focused as well as you can be. Or you can focus it yourself and just have them press the shutter if you’re more comfortable.

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of shooting with the DJI Mavic Pro:


  1. Tripod mode (this helps keeps the drone as steady as it can be) it also helps to make minute corrections to better align your picture
  2. Unique Perspective
  3. Creates new shapes and possibilities


  1. Need an assistant
  2. Most drones don’t have a controllable aperture
  3. Shutter can only stay open for 8 seconds max
  4. Pictures aren’t as clear as they could be because of drone movement
  5. If there is any wind at all it will affect your picture so you will only get it so clear

So how do you do this type of photography? I’ll do my best to break it down.

  1. Find a spot that it’s ok to fly drones [Editor’s note: You need a Part 107 waiver from the FAA to fly at night]. Fly this drone up to 30-50 ft.
  2. Have your model (if you want to use one) lie on the ground and center the drone on top of him or her about 30-50 feet up in the air.
  3. Focus on your subject or the ground by zooming in with your drone and doing your best to get a clear shot.
  4. Now take your tube or blades or whatever you want to use and get ready to light-paint. Your drone operator will have to count down for you when you need to start painting as you only have 8 seconds, if not less!

I personally like to use models for this type of light painting but you totally don’t have to if you just want fun shapes. I find models just enhance the picture and provide interest.

When making shapes you have to think a little differently about how they are created as you are using a different plane of perspective. Don’t be afraid to use your space! Go up and down and all around and see what you can do. I find tubes or tube-like objects work best (at least so far) so that’s what I would recommend.

The most important thing with this style is that the sky is (literally?) the limit! Or maybe your battery life. There is so much you can do with perspective it’s bonkers, so go wild!

About the author: Russell Klimas is a photographer working on the art of aerial drone light-painting. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Klimas’ work on his website. This article was also published here.

Source: PetaPixel

Shooting Top-Down Light-Painting Photos Using a Drone

Photos of Utopian Sustainable Spaces in Singapore

Photos of Utopian Sustainable Spaces in Singapore

The Sustainable Singapore Movement is an ongoing effort by the island city-state to create an environmentally clean and beautiful home for future generations. Photographer Klaus Tan Yihong shot a photo project titled Space Sustainable that provides a beautiful look at the new green spaces found through the country.

Yihong, an 18-year-old student of Anglo Chinese School, was selected as the overall winner in the Junior Category of the prestigious City Developments Limited Singapore Young Photographers Award 2018.

Sustainability means that our rate of consumption is lesser than our rate of resource production – social and economic progress are the end rewards. This project, shot exclusively within Singapore, features 5 microcosms representing the spaces we spend our life in – housing spaces, relaxation spaces, work spaces, transportation spaces and city spaces. Each photograph tells a unique story of how the featured element contributes towards sustainable living in Singapore, and emphasizes the beauty of adopting a sustainable style in city development.

The photos cover the microcosms of city, housing, relaxation, transportation, and work. The captions below are by Yihong.

Standing against the backdrop of Singapore’s Central Business district at sunrise is the Metropolis, a Grade A office building located in One North. It features large glass windows which serve to allow natural light into the premises, reducing the need for electricity to power lighting. It achieved the Green Mark Platinum certification by the Building & Construction Authority of Singapore.
The Apple store in Orchard runs exclusively on green energy, through innovative solar panels installed on its roof. Moreover, its groves feature lush green trees, adding to the environmental aesthetic of the store.
The bustling Tanjong Pagar Terminal is equipped with LNG-fuelled harbour crafts and electric cranes, in a step towards adoption of cleaner fuels.
Contrary to conventional housing clusters of solitary towers, the Interlace condominium by Buro Ole Scheeren architects creates an intricate network linking private and social spaces, providing residents freedom and creating a sense of community.
The HDB is an embodiment of all things sustainable. With housing support schemes, amenities for all ages and communal facilities that cater for everyone, approximately 80% of Singapore’s residents reside in HDBs.
Furnished with a tropical inspired landscaping consisting of timber décor and greenery, communal facilities in Hillcrest Villa encourage interactions with the environment, and offer a spot for peace seeking residents to meditate in solace.
Singapore’s HDB carpark rooftops are starting to look more green, as the government starts to build landscaped public rooftop gardens which provide amenities (exercise equipment, playgrounds, gardens) and visual relief. National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan was quoted on the developments: “… besides lowering the ambient temperature, (they are) pleasing to the eye.”
It’s a common sight in Singapore to see HDB estates to be intertwined with a variety of trees, creating a soothing, harmonious living atmosphere between humans and nature.
The Marina Barrage’s capabilities are manifold: A water catchment area, a system for flood control and a locale for leisurely activities. It is equipped with exhibits to promote a culture of sustainability for generations to come.
The iconic super trees stand tall and proud as if jewels in a crown, impressing tourists from abroad with Singapore’s repute for environmental sustainability as a “city in a garden”. The trees are not merely showpieces; multiple photovoltaic cells embedded within the structures collect solar energy to power its lights, providing an amazing display of lights after dusk.
Reservoirs in Singapore act as water catchment areas, providing the nation a sustainable flow of renewable water. Moreover, they function as scenic places for Singaporeans to enjoy the calm and cool of nature during leisurely morning strolls or evening runs. Combined with an extensive network of drains, canals and rivers, 2/3 of Singapore acts as rainwater collection points, enabling our nation to harvest stormwater for potable consumption.
Amongst one of the largest parks in Singapore, the 62-hectare Bishan-Ang Mo Kio park has a naturalised canal, spanning 3 kilometres of winding rivers with lavish spaces for families to enjoy communal fun. If also features disabled friendly play facilities such that individuals of different abilities can enjoy the park.
The Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system offers an efficient solution to moving people around the island with convenient access to all regions. All trains have regenerative braking technologies to facilitate conservation of energy by converting kinetic energy to electricity.
Majestic raintrees adorn the sides of Singapore’s Central Expressway; this ingenious idea can be attributed to founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. According to Singapore’s first Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, “(sic.) we are in the tropics and, of course, the tropics being so hot, he wanted shade to cool the environment. It was his first priority”.
The future of aviation and the environment is bright, as aviation giants Boeing and Airbus are committed to engineering efficient aircrafts which use lighter composite materials and advanced engine technologies to reduce consumption of fossil fuels. These efforts generate less waste and ultimately increased benefits for the environment.
A form of public transport which runs on electricity supplied by gridlines beneath the tracks, the LRT shuttles residents around suburban residential estates. If offers no air polluting emissions, minimising passenger carbon footprint to 13.2g per passenger-kilometre, in support of governmental efforts to create a “clean and green” Singapore.
Last light sets over Singapore’s CBD. All of these buildings feature high density configurations, presenting a solution to growing woes of lang shortage in prime areas.
In line with Nanyang Technological University Singapore’s vision to become one of the “greenest campuses in the world”, the Hive @ NTU boasts a passive displacement ventilation system which ensures cool air is spread evenly throughout the levels. Up to 30% cost in energy savings are expected with this innovative air conditioning system. It received the Green Mark Platinum Award from the Building and Construction Authority in 2013.
For a country without natural resources, Singapore’s future is heavily tied up to its capability to innovate and stay relevant. At the forefront to sustain Singapore’s needs and economy is one-north, a business and science park by the Jurong Town Corporation. It is the future of Singapore’s research and development sector, exploiting advances in the biomedical sciences and infocomm technologies to create efficient processes which propel our nation into the future.

You can find more of Yihong’s work on his Facebook, Flickr, and Instagram.

Source: PetaPixel

Photos of Utopian Sustainable Spaces in Singapore

Backyard Adventures: Rethinking the Art of the Travel Photo

Backyard Adventures: Rethinking the Art of the Travel Photo

The Lofoten archipelago is one of the most photographed regions in Norway. Its images have flooded social media in the last couple of years — certainly both you and I have seen them. And at some point, both you and I have been dreaming of visiting either Lofoten or other places we have seen in the form of breathtaking imagery.

I have finally made it to my dream location in June 2018, and it was exactly as I have seen on photographs. I made sure I stopped in all the places recommended by other photographers and pressed the shutter button so many times I am amazed it still works. After some days of driving around the islands, my travel companion and I moved on to a neighboring archipelago – Vesterålen. And we were both a bit disappointed.

The mountains did not rise directly from the sea as we expected, and there were more flatlands and occasional crop fields. It did not feel right though not to appreciate the beautiful nature there. It is, after all, a magnificent place. When the trip came to an end, and I was browsing through my photographs from the comfort of my sofa back at home, I discovered, to my big surprise, that I hated most of them.

I have already seen most of the pictures I have taken during my travel through archipelagos in the north — in the form of books, postcards or online photos. Sure, they were my own take on the region, but how many unique images can you find from the same viewpoints, anyway? Some might argue that a hundred different photographers can take a hundred different snapshots of the same object, but when you multiply the numbers, the chances are that you will get a lot of similar images. Just browse through Instagram, focusing on one location.

These few photographs from my trip that I liked were mostly details or landscapes taken out of the context of the location. They were more anonymous – they could have been created in Norway or any other country. In the sea of scenic Lofoten landscapes I have seen, only the weird ones, not exactly about Lofoten itself, caught my eye. And my conclusion was the same as the one Roland Barthes wrote before me: “In an initial period, Photography, in order to surprise, photographs the notable; but soon, by a familiar reversal, it decrees notable whatever it photographs. The ‘anything whatever’ then becomes the sophisticated acme of value.”

That seems so accurate, especially now, when images are so easily distributed online, but it also appears as a way too obvious conclusion in this case. There was something more going on in the background.

The pictures I liked were able to capture the feeling I had while being there – the quiet loneliness of ethereal nature, the sense of freedom. That is, in fact, my favorite feeling. It makes me aware that I belong in that exact place in the exact time I am shooting. Similar feeling to the one I get wandering around my so familiar backyard, just with a little bit more thrill of the new location. And that made me look at the pictures taken around my house and compare them to the ones from the trip. The ones taken back at home were unique – they were more “me” than the ones from the Lofoten expedition. Fortunately, there aren’t millions of tourists traveling to my backyard every year taking the same postcard photos again and again.

Some might say I am lucky, I live in the picturesque countryside, in the south of Norway, with surrounding crop fields, forests, and lakes. But for me it is one of the most boring landscapes there is, no dramatic mountains, no stormy seas. Here I have to create my adventures. I have to work hard to notice something worth documenting, in a landscape I pass by every day. But when I finally manage to find something worth pressing the shutter button for, then I feel like I belong there with my camera, in that exact moment.

All the photographs you see on this page were taken on my own backyard. Sure, they are no dramatic postcards from some dream location, but at least they depict my unique voice. I have not shot them in a place I have seen before on Instagram, but they aren’t just ordinary moments either. They show moments I have been chasing through my backyard with a camera countless times, to get that one perfect photo. I have probably traveled the same distance through my backyard, as I have to Lofoten and back.

My point here is that sometimes we forget where we come from and why we travel. Do we take our journeys to see what we have already seen so many times in images taken by other photographers? Do we wander so far to create the same picture we can buy on a postcard in a souvenir shop? Sure, I am also guilty here, I have often before traveled to get that one photo that already existed. It was easy. But maybe if we treat our backyards as the most thrilling destinations, and treat the great viewpoints as our backyard, we could see things differently. I surely will think about that next time I step outside, whether I will travel to the other side of the globe or just the end of my garden.

About the author: Marta Anna Løvberg is a Polish photographer who has been living and working in Norway since 2008. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Løvberg’s work on her website and Instagram. This article was also published here.

Source: PetaPixel

Backyard Adventures: Rethinking the Art of the Travel Photo

How Madonna Has Prospered For This Damn Long

How Madonna Has Prospered For This Damn Long
In 1984, a young woman by the name of Madonna Ciccone—who assumed the power to only go by her first name, somewhat unusual for the time—appeared on the classic TV show American Bandstand to perform one of her first hits, “Holiday”, and promote her self-titled debut album. As customary, host Dick Clark pulled the rising pop tart aside to ask a few fun questions. “What do you hope will happen, not only in 1984 but for the rest of your professional life? What are your dreams? What’s left??…

Keep on reading: How Madonna Has Prospered For This Damn Long
Source: V Magazine

How Madonna Has Prospered For This Damn Long

Cat Power and Lana Del Rey Drop Witchy Anthem

Cat Power and Lana Del Rey Drop Witchy Anthem
Today, Cat Power released the first single from her forthcoming album Wanderer, which features background vocals by none other than Lana Del Rey. The bluesy, foot-tapping “Woman” not only offers a confident first taste of the chameleonic Chan Marshall’s latest musical direction, but also serves as an assertion of female power that is particularly resonant in this day and age—especially when echoed by Del Rey, pop’s foremost sorceress.

The collaboration comes as no surprise; when Mar…

Keep on reading: Cat Power and Lana Del Rey Drop Witchy Anthem
Source: V Magazine

Cat Power and Lana Del Rey Drop Witchy Anthem

Photographer Captures Shooting Star Exploding in Front of a Comet

Photographer Captures Shooting Star Exploding in Front of a Comet

Montreal-based photographer François Guinaudeau went out a couple of nights ago to shoot Comet 21P/Giacobini-Zinner during the Perseid meteor shower. As he was capturing photos of the comet for stacking, a shooting star flew into the frame and exploded near the comet. Above is one of the photos that resulted.

“While video and VFX make my living, I am a passionate photographer and I recently decided to dive in a really special kind of photography: Deep Sky Object (DSO) photography,” Guinaudeau tells PetaPixel.

That night, Guinaudeau drove three hours with some friends to the Mont Mégantic Observatory, the first location on Earth to be designated as a dark sky preserve by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). He was shooting 15-second exposures with a Nikon D500 DSLR, a 400mm lens (equivalent to a 600mm on a full frame camera), and an equatorial mount that tracks celestial objects as they move across the night sky.

After shooting some wide-angle shots of the sky to catch meteors, Guinaudeau switched to the telephoto lens for photos of the comet.

“With such a small field of view, the chance of catching a meteor is really, really small,” Guinaudeau says. “But while my setup was taking the photos, a pretty big meteor hit the sky in our angle of incidence. We were able to see the persistence of it for around 30 seconds in the sky.”

“Then I realized that it was incredibly close to the part of the sky I was shooting, so I ran to check my photos. I did catch it in the corner of the frame — enough to make it a great and rare shot.”

Here’s the sequence of photos that was captured — we see the disintegration of the meteor:

“You can see so many things moving when you’re staring at the sky for hours,” Guinaudeau says. “When this kind of event occurs, you realize how alive the sky is.”

You can find more of Guinaudeau on his website and Instagram.

Source: PetaPixel

Photographer Captures Shooting Star Exploding in Front of a Comet

The Case Against the Photo Watermark

The Case Against the Photo Watermark

Inevitably a time will come around when a budding photographer decides to start “taking this seriously,” “discouraging image theft,” and (my personal favorite), “gaining exposure.” And they do this, of course, with a watermark.

Now mind you, before I get to the nitty-gritty of why this is BS, I’ll cover the surface level problem with this.

First, 9/10 watermarks made by a beginner look horrendous. Too big, too small, too opaque, too transparent, or gaudy. Not to mention most beginners haven’t settled into a legitimate business name by the time they start watermarking images. So ten years later they can look back at their Facebook images with that wonderful, neon pink, floral-designed “elegant memorable captures Dixie memory precious flowers” and recall with pride their humble beginnings.

Moving past the obvious, let’s assume the photographer has set into this business of photography with a sound mind and has all the ducks in a row, and a well-vetted name on which to build a brand (which is arguably entirely another topic.)

Now, this photographer is traipsing around local photography circles, showing off images either for praise or critique, with some plastered logo and mark across the image, unconcerned with the implied notion behind the mark.

Are the other photographers potential clients?

Are we who you’re marketing your brand to?

Are we thieves looking to steal your work?

Will we take you more seriously because you put some text onto the image in Photoshop and dropped the opacity?

The answer typically to these questions is “no.”

No, we aren’t your clients or target market.

We don’t want your work (we take pride in our own art).

And, rather than take you seriously, we may take you less seriously after seeing the flaw, or worse yet, we may dig harder into your work seeing how confident you are in your legitimacy. (Think of that what you may.)

Do you watermark your photos?

The misled thinking primarily behind the beginner’s watermark is that somehow the watermark legitimizes the photographer and their work. That somehow clients along with other fellow photographers will take you more seriously because of a watermark. Not by the quality of your work, the time you’ve invested, the extensive marketing and grinding you’ve done for self-promotion. Nope, a watermark is the path to legitimacy.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Small hint: Clients don’t care about your watermark unless it’s obstructing their ability to gauge if they like your work or not.

Bigger hint: Photographers who’ve been around awhile will spot the error from a mile away and perhaps have even less likelihood of respecting you based on the idea you’re projecting. Which is that titles, not hard work, are what makes a photographer.

If you’re doing work for a steal that’s going to gain a lot of exposure (REAL exposure), watermark away.

If you’re sending images for a client to mull over before purchasing, sure, place a watermark.

Don’t be fooled, however: watermarks don’t deter theft. A larger watermark perhaps makes it harder to remove, but keep in mind that the displeasing effect it will have on potential viewers counteracts any potential benefit.

What is your opinion on seeing watermarks on photos?

If you want a real “watermark”: develop a brand, a personalized style, so that when anyone sees a picture you’ve taken, it’s unmistakable who took that image.

Because after all, that’s the true sign of a photographer digging their heels in and doing the work.

About the author: Michael Reynolds is a photographer who’s part of the photography duo working as Lucky Sparrows. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. Reynolds also runs a popular photography group on Facebook called Photography Advice & Education. You can find more of Lucky Sparrows’ work on their website, Facebook, and Instagram. This article was also published here.

Source: PetaPixel

The Case Against the Photo Watermark

Macallan Launches a Magnum Photos Limited Edition Whiskey

Macallan Launches a Magnum Photos Limited Edition Whiskey

For the past 10 years, the famous Scotch whiskey distillery The Macallan has been releasing limited edition whiskeys in a Masters of Photography series. For its latest edition, Macallan collaborated with the prestigious Magnum Photos cooperative.

The Macallan Masters of Photography: Magnum Edition is the 7th limited edition release as part of the series. Previous photographers honored with an edition include Rankin, Albert Watson, Annie Leibovitz, Elliot Erwitt, Mario Testino, and Steven Klein.

In addition to the scotch itself, each Magnum edition pack also contains a collection of six 11×14-inch signed prints captured by 6 Magnum photographers — Steve McCurry, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Mark Power, Gueorgui Pinkhassov and Alec Soth — that show different aspects of Macallan’s latest distillery and visitor experience.

“The whiskey is crafted from a vatting of eight casks all differing in character, to reflect the photography style of each of the Magnum photographers and to represent Magnum itself,” Macallan says.

Here are Macallan’s descriptions for each of the 8 casks:

  1. A spicy gingered cask reflects McCurry’s bold and brave style.
  2. A cask of age where oak influence prevails over individual characteristics symbolizes Parr’s oblique view of the world.
  3. A classic cask with an intense black cherry note complements Pellegrin’s forceful black and white pictures.
  4. Two casks reflect Power’s photography which captures the familiar, but from an often obscure point of view.
  5. An ex-European red wine cask imparting a rich mahogany red color represents Pinkhassov’s contrasting and brightly colored work.
  6. A first fill American barrel with its delicate citrus notes captures Soth’s heritage and spirit of adventure.
  7. The final cask is an intensely sweet yet classic Macallan with edge and depth, bringing the whole creation together and representing the imagination and brilliance of Magnum.

The Macallan Masters of Photography: Magnum Edition will be available around the world starting this month with a price tag of $3,500. It’s limited to 2,000 editions.

Source: PetaPixel

Macallan Launches a Magnum Photos Limited Edition Whiskey

Your Unnecessary, But Must-Have Accessory Fix

Your Unnecessary, But Must-Have Accessory Fix
Although we don’t usually need to spend hundreds of dollars on an accent accessory, it’s easy to be convinced to splurge on a small, stylish find.  From Fendi furry key chains to Louis Vuitton notebooks to Gucci phone covers, these tiny extras make huge fashion statements.

Keep on reading: Your Unnecessary, But Must-Have Accessory Fix
Source: V Magazine

Your Unnecessary, But Must-Have Accessory Fix