Let's Get Physio...

One of our top dog Flickr pool members Tim Gamble has been so kind as to explain to us how he makes "these addictive spinny things", as he so fondly calls them.

Tim Gamble is a big fan of using Triggertrap to create exciting long exposure light painting photography. He uses our Press and Lock Cable Release mode so that he can take his time making his spin-tastic lightworks happen. We were first impressed by his light orb photography but then he hit us with these colourful "physiogram" photographs, and we just had to ask how he's creating them. Here's what Tim had to say...

What you'll need

  • A dark room (where you can hang something from the ceiling)
  • Camera, preferably with wide angle lens
  • Triggertrap mobile kit
  • Device with Triggertrap app installed
  • Torch
  • Cardboard
  • Electrical tape
  • String
  • Coloured gels (not essential but definitely fun)

How to make a Physiogram Photograph

  1. You need to attach a piece of string to the ceiling, from which you will eventually hang a torch.
  2. Before you hang the torch up there, cut a disc of cardboard the same size as the lightbulb end with a hole cut in the centre. Stick this down around the circumference with electrical tape so only light can pass through the middle of the disc and not leak from the edges.
  3. After you've got it dangling, it's time to set your camera up. Place it on the floor directly beneath the torch and focus. Says Tim: "I have my lens set to 17 mm: as wide as it will go. This way you can fit more of the swirl in the frame. If you have a super wide angle lens that would be perfect but I'm poor so I make do!"
  4. Set your camera to bulb and connect to the trusty Triggertrap Mobile dongle. Get the app ready to go with Press and Lock Cable Release mode selected because the next part needs to happen quickly.
  5. Next, turn on the torch and spin it round in as wide a circumference as possible, so as to fill your frame. Quickly turn off the lights and open the shutter. ("I find it very meditative watching that point of light spinning round in the dark.") When the swing of the torch gets near the middle, the circle becomes tight and the middle of the image can become blown out and you lose all the detail, so knowing when to stop may take some practice. Then it's time to stop the exposure.

Some other tips from Tim

"I try experimenting with different coloured gels, length of string, sizes of hole in the disc and how I spin the torch. Your aperture and white balance settings should also be fiddled with. In some of them I use EL wire to fill the dead space in the centre of the image although sometimes the darkness of the middle contrasts the dreamy outer quite well. I always use long exposure noise reduction as I don't have any editing software to remove it in post processing. This can be a pain, especially when your exposure is upwards of 10 minutes as you have to wait the same amount of time for the noise reduction to do its thang. Saying that I don't mind waiting 20 minutes when I end up with a lovely swirl."


So it sounds like the key to this kind of awesomeness is experimenting, experimenting and some more experimenting. It may sound time consuming but I think we can all agree the results are definitely worth it. If you want to keep an eye on Tim's photography for more inspiration you will find his Flickr here.

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