Light painting. Drones. Steel Wool. These are three of my favorite things! What if I could combine all three of these techniques into a single image, you say? Challenge accepted!
I will say this is merely my first attempt at this technique, and I hope it is only the beginning. However, I am fairly satisfied with my first attempt. The catalyst for this project was a combination of two events:
After digging further into using a drone for this method, I found both the requirements for flying a drone at night and the equipment needed to be within reach! With proper licensing, updated training, and the correct equipment (i.e. a light visible from 3 nm attached to your drone), commercial drone pilots can now fly at night without a special permit. I was surprised by the lack of options on lights to attach to my drone that would be sufficient for light painting. There were really one 1 or 2 options!
With this all in place, it was just a matter of going out and giving it a shot - yes a pun, deal with it. The final image is actually four different images put together: (1) An image of the scene with no drone/steel wool when there was still some light on the horizon, (2) A shot with the drone light, (3) a shot putting light on the "Frankin Park" title at the top to highlight this and (4) a shot with the steel wool.
The first image below is the end result, with the 2nd image just being one I liked of the steel wool spiraling through the arch from a 3/4 view. Certainly not my first attempt with steel wool if you want to learn more about that technique, but a first to be paired with a drone.
Comment below your idea of where else this technique could be used. Stay tuned for more images in the future using this technique, including some astrophotography as I experiment with new star tracking equipment to elevate my star photos - and where having a drone to light up the scene may come in handy.
Founder and visual artist, specializing in all aspects of a businesses presence from imagery and video to graphics and web. A graduate of IPFW with a Bachelor in Fine Arts, Concentration Photography as well as an Associates Degree in Business. His personal photography works are focused on landscape, travel, and aerial photography.