Superhero Light Painting With Sparkles

TangledWay back we featured a tutorial about using sparkles and long exposure to lightpaint a car.

Photographer Benjamin Von Wong took this to the next level and sparklepaints a superhero.

The big difference IMHO is the use of flash to freeze motion with the super hero shots.

Checkout a short interview and a behind the scenes after the jump

video by Eva Jinn Productions

U: Hi Benjamin, What was your inspiration for those pictures

B: The idea to use sparklers in a photograph came from seeing a series of light paintings (random) that had been done. The idea to strap it on a dancer actually came randomly as my brain sought to do something a little odd and different.

U: How did you scout for location?

B: Initially I was ready to use an alleyway at night for my project but a Facebook friend had contacted me with this really neat location he had not yet had the chance to explore so I thought it would be a good opportunity. Unfortunately for us, the building itself wasn’t really abandoned and some guy was working on the roof the whole time we were shooting. Thankfully, we’re true ninjas and got in and out before anyone noticed us!

I believe I can fly

U: What would you recommend for someone looking for abandoned locations?

B: Do your research online (flickr, google) and search up some local Urban Exploration group. Canadian law isn’t super stringent if you’re just in a building to take photographs… the most I’ve gotten was a warning! Oh, and don’t spit fireballs next to windows. Neighbours will call in explosions.


U: what equipment did you use on the shoot?

B: I used my trusty Nikon D700, 14-24 f2.8 and 24-70 f2.8.
For lighting I used a Wescott Apollo Softbox, Double Flash Bracket from DIY lighting kits, and a set of SB units (900, 800, 700) equipped with the Pocketwizard Flex/Mini series to trigger the flashes.

U: how did you time the exposure and the flashes? what did you find to be the optimal timing?

B: Actually I didn’t have much leeway in terms of exposure. In situations where you want to capture lighting trails, you want a long exposure except that the building was pretty well lit with all the holes in the ceiling. I dragged out my shutter as long as I could while maintaining a reasonably low (f5.6) aperture to ensure that my flashes had enough power to actually light my model! It’s always a balance game while trying to blend ambient light with flash lighting so there’s no “optimal” timing!

U: How is Vlad’s leg doing? (watch the above clip for context)

Oh, he’ll live. Small second degree burns but he’s a trooper. I actually saw him slack-lining the next day… ! Perhaps a good place to plan out a future shoot….

P.S – if you like playing with fire, check out our fireworks and lightpainting tutorial.