Just A Light Wipe Around The Edges...With Icelight 2

on October 19, 2016

I'm glad I'm not a cynic.

If I was, the appearance of the Icelight 2 light painting wands in the shop would have led me to conclude that the people who manufacture them are fans of Star Wars movies...and that they know the photographers who buy them are also fans.

It would explain the metal caps on the top and bottom ends of the lights and the on/off and level control buttons in Star Wars terms. I would have this mental picture of photo assistants doing light sabre duelling with these $700 wands during coffee breaks at the studio. I can hear them making "Whummm - whummm - whummmmm" sounds and speaking like Yoda. Right up until one of them hits a studio light with the aluminium casting end of the wand and the whole place starts to look like the Death Star...

Actually, on serious consideration, the aluminium ends of the wand are drilled and tapped for 1/4 threads and it means that they can be bolted to tripods or studio stands or slung from overhead booms. There is some practicality there.

The rest of the design is explainable in photo terms swell. The on/off switch needs to be thumb-operable as you have to turn the wand on and off easily multiple times when you move around the subject...putting it as a slide switch in the base of the handle section would have been easy but ergonomically wrong.

Likewise the power up and down. As you move around you have a limited time and need to be able to run the intensity up and down in the dark by touch.

The kit in the shop had several freebie bonuses; a tungsten-light corrective sleeve that covers the emitting part of the tube, a car charger, and a two-way 1/4" threaded connector. All good stuff. Available separately, but also in stock is the clip-on set of barn doors that restrict the light spread - These may be more useful for the light when it is being used in a fixed position and may approximate a strip light in effect.

For me, the classical use of the strip light is in motor car photography - the light painting that is done with these devices is often seen in professional illustration of new cars - the sleek lines and contours are particularly well suited for what the wand can do - especially if the paint is a metallic one. As everyone seems mad for dark colours, you need some time to build up an image, and there can be a fair bit of wiping about with the wand to get it to go where it looks best.

Cameras that allow for display of additional layers of light during long or multiple exposures...Olympus does this...let you see what is happening as you go. If you need to take multiple exposures and blend them into each other, a sturdy tripod and a quiet subject are necessary. And you need dark about you to do it with the greatest precision - though some ambient light adds location to the image. You can sometimes incorporate it while you are painting, or deliberately add it at the end of the process.

Here are some Little Studio experiments with the Icelight 2. First, outdoor shots with a metallic car and the ambience of the riverside:

Then an indoor shot with a plain studio background:

A portrait shot:

It is the sort of device that challenges and stimulates. If you get two of them the Force will be with you...and if you try to use them like traffic wands down on the flight line at the airport, the Federal Force will be with you in record time...don't say you weren't warned.

Thanks to Chelsea Bunz AKA the Absinthe Fairy, and Albert the Alligator...the green Suzuki.

The Icelight is available in-store at 230 Stirling St, Perth