DPS Memorial Summer School Week 2 was a huge success as we ‘Painted with Light’

From Angy Ellis

The extremely talented duo Sandra Hewitson & Chris Knaggs shared their vast knowledge on light painting as they delivered an excellent tutorial night for our members.

First we had to have the cameras ready for action: we were instructed on how to turn off the ‘Long Exposure Noise Reduction’, advised to choose a wide lens and turn off the lens vibration reduction. We were in Manual setting & Bulb mode as the exposures would be over 30 seconds, ISO was set between 200-400 however this was adjusted to suit throughout the night.

Once we had the cameras ready we were instructed to focus on Sandra or Chris before the lights were turned off. They would then create a light picture before our very eyes. We had no idea beforehand what it would be and this added to the anticipation and excitement of it all.

All focused, Sandra would then shout “lights out” it was so dark and very strange as we all stood very still, Sandra then instructed us to “start shooting”. We had to keep the shutter open for however long it took them to create a masterpiece, some were as short as 40 seconds others well over a minute. When she said “stop” the shutters were closed and we waited – then Wow! You could hear the satisfied gasps, fantastic responses, giggles and sounds of enjoyment as the light picture was revealed on the backs of cameras. Honestly it was so much fun.

Sandra and Chris had many light painting gadgets to use but they stressed that nothing needed to be expensive. They brought along LED umbrellas (without the umbrella), many coloured torches, carved plastic shapes for the ends and one was a feather. Key rings with lights, battery operated lengths of illuminating wire that made a great mist, laser pens and a huge amount of imagination. However the key to using all these accessories was to have a good ‘mind’s eye’, the ability to visualise the image as it is drawn so that there was no doubt as to what it was. It reminded me of ‘joining the dots’ as a kid but you had to make your own dots in your head first before starting to light paint – it’s not easy but fun to try.

Sandra shared with us that she used the house with all the lights off to practice, an idea we can all try now that we have the basic knowledge of how to paint with light. Chris said winter is best for this activity outside because it gets dark earlier. Apparently our many local castles can be enhanced with some quality light painting so I feel a DPS night out later in the year may be on the cards.

As the night progressed members were encouraged to get involved, Elizabeth Proud started with her painting of an orb, Liz Mearman stood still while she was given a skirt and bikini top as did David Hickman. Julie Ferry was given a light landscape of a house, tree and flowers enthusiastically painted by Neil Maughan and Dave Murrell and our DPS fairy was given her wings by Sandra as Chris surrounded her in green mist.

We finished with a quick ‘how to’ for ‘wire wool spinning’ by Chris – amazingly all that is needed is a kitchen whisk attached to a dog lead and some very fine grade wire wool. It’s advisable to wear long sleeves and a hoody but that’s all you need and you are good to go.

Well, what a night, thank you to all the members and friends who attended. As for Sandra and Chris, we thank them so much for their good humour, time and effort.

Next week it’s the bullet rig boys – please support this amazing visit from Ian & Steven as it will never happen again. Please let’s show our appreciation by attending, no camera needed but you can get involved on the night.


Photos: Angy Ellis

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