In which Miss Molly paints with light.

What time is it? It’s Mangled Messes time! It’s my last session before Summer Reading insanity begins, so I wanted to go out with a BANG and what better way to do that than by doing a program about Light Painting.light painting 6

Light painting is exactly what it sounds like: setting an extended exposure time on a camera and using various light producing objects to create images. It’s beautiful, unique, and so very fun.

My library is lucky enough to have access to a batch of iPads that we regularly use for programming (as mentioned previously). This will be my first program outside of storytime when I get to use the iPad. It’s always interesting planning for something that I’ve never done before.

I decided to use the camera on the iPad and several iPad apps to get the kids creating beautiful images with a combination of glow sticks, flash lights, and light painting apps. I had been playing around with these apps before the program and loved what I could create. I don’t necessarily have the most artistic ability, but some of the images I made were really cool.

light painting 7The apps I chose to use were Lume and LongExpo, both available on iTunes. LongExpo is free, while Lume costs 1.99 (but, it’s totally worth it). With Lume, you can manipulate images with light effects, as you can see above (and below).

light painting 8I think it’s really cool how you can manipulate a standard image and turn it into something unexpected. These images might have been influenced by my recent obsession with Supernatural. And they are just SO awesome. You would never be able to tell I can’t draw a straight line.

light painting 9Lume uses the touch screen, and various light effects, and enables the artist to make all sorts of adjustments. You don’t even have to start with a photograph. It can simply be a blank page, which is what I used to create the title page at the very top.

light painting 10But, if you do use a photograph to start, it really makes them come alive. I mean, really. That’s a book about SPRING. However, this is computer manipulation, rather than true light painting.

With LongExpo, it is an entirely different story.

light painting 5You use the aptly (app-ly) named long exposure to create trails of light by using a flash light or other light source. It has to be done in a dark room. light painting 4And it is far less precise, if you aren’t an expert. It is, however, still a wonderful experience.

How it works: the camera stores up what your eye would see over the space of 10-30 seconds (depending on your exposure time) and is showing those collected images to you all at once. The human eye doesn’t work that way. The brain has what is called the inhibitory system, which clears the images from our eyes, and updates them: it constantly refreshing the image, so our brain sees the light in bursts, rather than streaks. light painting 2Since camera’s don’t have this system, they can capture something completely unique and process it in a way for the human eye to see.Exciting, no?

How it went: Very well. The kids had a great time. As usual, they were hesitant about shutting the lights off and playing with Long Expo. However…once I gave them no other option…they quickly picked it up. And, boy, did they rock it.

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