Light painting at Tiergarten (first event!)

Any light-painters (or people interested in light painting) around? It's time to get out there and shoot!

Quick Logistical header:

Where: meet in the "Platz des 18. März" (just west of Brandenburger Tor)
When: meet between 19:00 and 19:15; lasting until 21:00 or later
Where (part 2): Tiergarten... details TBD (see comments for some guesses)
Bring: Warm clothes, camera, tripod, things that make light, remote if you have one...
Contact: David, [masked]
(more details below, on all of the above)

On to the general description:

I'm thinking it'd be fun to get a group together, wander into "the woods" of Tiergarten with cameras and tripods, and set up some (very) long exposures, wandering through the frame while the shutter is open with various lights and things, to add some surreality (and/or other interest) to the images.

I don't have a whole lot of light-painting gear at the moment, but I do have one or two things (and I'm hunting around for some new things, little by little), and maybe together we can come up with some interesting stuff... or make it a regular thing, and buy and/or build tools over time! I think it'd be especially great to build up a regular group to do collaborative things, and start putting Berlin onto the map. Or rather, specifically *this* map:

(Or just see the kinds of things I'm hoping to build up to, by perusing that group's pool, in general):

I posted this as a suggestion without a time, and got lots of interest... so, now I'm choosing a date, and making it happen!

This will be our first such meetup, so I'm keeping this all informal for now. The only goals are just to meet up, do some long exposure photography, and have some fun. If some folks want to do a more "serious" (and perhaps carefully planned) event in the future, we can start that discussion. If some folks want to just goof off and play with the light, well, this is a chance to get that ball rolling. If people are totally new to all this, I'm happy to do some informal training. If it turns out that's not enough, we can have a more formal training in the future. For now, we'll just get together, have some fun, and see where it goes.

The plan: Meet at 19:00 at the Brandenburg Gate (Branderburger Tor), on the west side (i.e. between the gate and where the Berlin Wall used to be), in the little platz there. We can have some introductory discussion while we gather, and maybe do a few shots at the gate. At 19:15 (or later, if folks are really inspired to shoot at the gate), we decide that any further stragglers need to come and find us (Feel free to SMS or call me (David): [masked]), and we wander into Tiergarten and look for spots to set up. (I've done a little bit of pre-scouting and have some specific ideas; groups often work better with specific guidance, I find, though I'm a pretty spontaneous person, most times, so... we'll see how it goes. :)

FAQ (i.e. your questions, answered):

- Why Tiergarten?

No major reason, it just seemed like having a specific place would be good, and that struck me as a place that would have some good dark patches, which is important for light painting. Plus it has trees and things, which can make for nice backgrounds. I haven't actually shot there at night, so it's possible it will be disappointing somehow... but, hey, it's somewhere to get started. If you have suggestions for locations for the next event, feel free to share them!

- What subjects will we shoot?

Whatever people are interested in. :) I imagine doing some shots where only the park itself plus our added light are involved, though if anyone wants to volunteer to model in some shots, I'm sure we could do some interesting things with that, as well... and it's long exposure, so "ghosts" are possible, among other creative things.

- What lights shall I bring?

Anything and everything you've got, that you don't mind carrying, and that can operate without being plugged in. :) If anyone has any EL wire (Electroluminescent wire), that can be especially cool. Or LED light strips, or various LED light toys (fans, etc.), or flashlights/torches, or... really, pretty much anything you've got. Even strobes (flashes) can be good, for some things. Modifiers are also welcome... gels, "flags" (something to block some of the light), etc. Whatever you've got! We'll figure out if we want something more specific for future meetups.

- Are there (cheap) lights I could buy?

Probably! I've been seeing little LED-and-fiber-optic flowers around in stores lately, which could actually do interesting things, or there are little torches that can be found all over the place, some with laser pointers built in even, or... it's amazing the stuff you can find that lights up. Some of it will surely be disappointing. Other stuff will be pleasantly surprising. Other stuff will be in between. I encourage you only to buy something if you're either sure you want it anyway, or you're buying it for the experiment, rather than the results. In the future, perhaps we'll build up a list of more specific recommendations.

- What else do I need to bring?

Please be sure to bring:
- Warm clothing! There'll be a lot of standing around in the cold.
- A camera with manual control (and preferably a "bulb" mode, for long exposures), ideally that you already know how to use (though we can try to work together to figure it out, as well)
- well-charged batteries!  (Long exposures eat batteries in many cameras.)
- A remote for your camera, if at all possible. (self-timer mode can also work for timed exposures, though that often doesn't help with bulb mode)
- A tripod or other way of stabilizing your camera for an extended period (if you want to experiment with hand-held, feel free... just know that you'll miss out on a lot of clarity! I encourage experimentation, just know that most people would be very disappointed with the results of hand-held light painting, so, it would be highly advised to bring a tripod, lest you end up just standing around watching others shoot. :)
- a well-fed, well-hydrated (as in water) you, and/or snacks or drinks (it's fine with me if you want to have a beer or something, though I'd prefer people to be basically sober) if you'll need them. I don't think there's much option to buy food or drink in the middle of Tiergarten at night.

- How long will this go?

This really depends on the group, and what they're up to. I'm potentially willing to go until midnight or beyond, if people are excited and having fun - these exposures can be quite long, so depending on what people are doing, that might not even mean that many photos having been taken. On the other hand, people are also free to leave whenever, either because you're tired, or it's Friday night and you want to go do other things. :) I expect I'll be out there for *at least* two hours, so if you're thinking about joining late, you should be good to join as late as 9.

More questions? Ask in the comments! I'll do my best to answer in a timely manner. Or text/call with any day-of questions. Again, David at [masked]-6404.

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  • David L.

    For those of you on Flickr, I've created a group! - I encourage any of you who are interested in pursuing this to join!

    Meanwhile, I'm hoping to plan another meetup or two in the next weeks... There will be more!

    March 1, 2013

  • David L.

    Thank you to everyone who came out, and made tonight's meetup what for me was a resounding success. I look forward to doing more of these (yes, including when it's warmer! - though probably also including more in the cold!), and perhaps even building up a group of regulars who really want to get into it (though newcomers will also always be welcome as far as I'm concerned, at least at open meetups from this group directly).

    For those who couldn't make it, I'm sorry to have missed you. Well, and hopefully nobody tried to make it but couldn't find us! I tried to be blinky and obvious. :)

    I'll post another comment with some follow-up thoughts sometime soon, and watch this group for future light-painting events as well. :) (Well, at least provided I get my visa stuff sorted out... here's hoping.)

    February 23, 2013

  • David L.

    We're on the west side of the gate... 10 of us, look for blinking lights... or call. We'll leave at 19:25.

    February 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am on my way. I'll be there in about 5 min.

    February 22, 2013

  • Hong

    My tram has a delay has a 10 min delay, will you guys still be there? Where can I find you?

    February 22, 2013

  • David L.

    Sanjay: Great! Hopefully after tonight, the love will only grow. :)

    February 22, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    bringing a buddy along who hasn't quite figured out how to get on Meetup, but loves his new Nikon D800 :)

    February 22, 2013

  • David L.

    Also: wow, up to 20 people! Excellent! Let's all work together to make this a lot of fun, and a source of much creativity. :) I'm excited to meet you all!

    February 22, 2013

  • David L.

    Anand and Synke: Sorry to miss you; well, hopefully next time!

    All: I did a little scoping out last night, and I'm really excited! With snow on the ground and clouds in the sky, it is pretty bright out there, but still plenty dark do get long enough exposures to do something fun. Just be sure to dress warmly! It gets cold after a few hours, mostly standing in one place. :)

    Also, I see an opportunity to add clarity about the location: My hope is for us to meet in the "Platz des 18. März", between 19:00 and 19:15, and then wander into Tiergarten, perhaps starting in the direction of the "Großer Hain" and "Global Stone Project", on the south side of Straße des 17. Juni, though there are also some interesting possibilities to the north, so... any late arrivals are encouraged to call or text ([masked]), though it also looks like it'll be a big group of people with tripods waving lights around, so we'll hopefully be easy to find. :)

    February 22, 2013

  • Synke

    I would have loved to come as I wanted to try light painting for a while but other plans on Friday already. Have fun and curious to see your photos!

    February 21, 2013

  • Anand J.

    Rather sad that I will be missing it. I always wanted to try light painting and have never gotten round to do it. :( ... I will be in frankfurt tomorrow and reaching back only at midnight. hope we will have yet another light painting meetup. i really would love to learn!

    February 21, 2013

  • David L.

    Mandy, Corinna, and Kristin: Sorry to hear that you'll miss it; hopefully I'll do more, and you can join in. :)

    Beth: Thank you!

    Dragos: Regarding the light, I think 7 PM will be OK this time of year, given the current sunset time of 5:33 PM.

    As for timing with work, well, I encourage you to join us when you're able! I've put my number in the main event description, and I welcome you (or anyone else with the same difficulty) to give me a call or an SMS for assistance in locating the group once we've gotten started. (It's possible I'll miss a phone call, especially if I'm in the middle of an exposure, but I'll try to remember to check my phone frequently, and I'll gladly return any missed calls. And you're welcome to call more than once, if I don't!) So, please join us this time if you can! And if not, well, then hopefully I'll do more, and you can join in for the next time, like others who can't make it.

    Meanwhile, I'm excited for all that are a yes! See you tomorrow!

    February 21, 2013

  • Dragos A.

    That's very unfortunate, I might say.
    Week-day at 7 PM is too early (also for light-painting). There are days when I leave the office at 7.30 or 8 in the evening. It will be impossible for me to come tomorrow at 7 :( Maybe next time

    February 21, 2013

  • Kristin

    Hi,I'll not be in Berlin this weekend. But would be great to join another date. Wish you fantastic pictures.

    February 21, 2013

  • Beth J.

    Hi David thank you for suggesting this awesome event - i've just announced it for you :)

    February 21, 2013

  • Mandy R.

    I won't be in Berlin next week, hope to join another time! have fun! :)

    February 17, 2013

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