Sean McIntyre · designing technology to create art

End of the World Light Painting

Last weekend I joined a couple hundred of others in upstate New York for a camping trip.

This wasn't your typical childhood camping trip. (Unless your parents are weird artists!) This camp was decked out with three music stages with loud sound systems, sculptures, VJs projecting onto weather balloons and Buckminster Fuller domes, fireworks, and Chinese fire lanterns. There were so many talented people there making music and art. Oh yeah, we also relaxed and had campfires and all that. It was my second year to this camp.

This year, I brought a point-and-shoot camera, tripod, and a stick of LEDs to do light painting. Here are my favourite shots.
















































A nice lady (can't remember her name!) brought a sparkler and wanted to light paint with it, so I shot her as well. These are all selected composites of the shots I took, which are pretty cool I think.








The images were touched up to flatten the black, but otherwise are largely unaltered. The originals are on my flickr account. All of these images are released under a BY-NC-SA Creative Commons license, so go ahead and use them if you'd like!

How it works

Here's the stick of LEDs I used hung up like a piece of art (because I'm submitting it to a salon show in my studio building).


The mechanism is a thin piece of wood and a big, heavy screw bolted into the wood. A plumbing insulator sleeve wraps around the screw but is free to rotate, so the light painter can swing the wood around in circles easily.

An Arduino, 9V battery, and strip of LEDs is ziptied to the wood. To turn it on and off, simply plug in the barrel jack from the 9V into the Arduino.

The strip of LEDs are the same awesome LPD8806 RGB strips that Reid and I used for the Rainbow Machine and MNDR's Rainbow Box. This strip is leftovers, but you can grab it at Adafruit and learn how to use it with their excellent tutorial.

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