When I was a kid in England, one of my favorite times of year was Bonfire Night (more officially, Guy Fawkes Night), which occurs on 5 November. This celebrates the anniversary of a failed attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.
For a couple of weeks leading up to this occasion, my cousin Gillian and I would roam the streets and the local woods searching for wood and using it to build a big pile at the bottom of my Auntie Barbara and Uncle Nick’s garden. On the evening of 5 November, a bunch of family members and neighbors would meet up to light the bonfire and munch lots of food cooked by my aunt and my mother.
The adults would drink and let off fireworks with — on occasion — interesting results. We kids were allowed to light sparklers under adult supervision. I remember waving my sparkler around and drawing circles that seemed to float in the air due to persistence of vision.
The reason I mention this here is that, yesterday evening, I was reading the third 2019 issue of Nuts & Volts magazine. One of the articles was about building a LED-based Light Saber. As part of this, the author showed a photograph of the light saber being whirled around. This photograph had been taken with a long exposure, resulting in a somewhat psychedelic image.
As part of this, the author recommended looking up “Light Graffiti” (also known as “Light Painting”) on Google. When I did so, I was introduced to an unexpected world of light effects, including these amazing light constructs by Trevor Williams and this tutorial video by Jason Rinehart.
OMG! This is amazing. I’d never thought of taking this type of effect to this level. A couple of years ago, my wife (Gina the Gorgeous) gave me a really nice digital camera for Christmas. I bet it would be awesome for images like this. Now my head is buzzing with all sorts of thought and ideas, not the least that I have the song Blinded by the Light by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band rattling around my noggin.
If you are interested in seeing more of these creations, just perform searches for “Light Graffiti” and “Light Painting” on Google Images and YouTube. Also, it would be great if you could post links to the best offerings you find in the comments below.
And here I thought the light sabre was merely intended to keep the Dark Side in check.
By the way, did you know that Manfred Mann was originally South African (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manfred_Mann_(musician))- one of the few SA musicians who became a success on the international music scene.
I never knew that — thanks for sharing — I must admit that I really, REALLY like their “Blinded by the Light” — especially the part where it slows down and then builds up again in the middle.
Back in what was then Southern Rhodesia, we used to love the 5th of November. Fireworks were all the rage. Although I was aware of the “penny for the guy” tradition, I never saw anyone doing it. I remember once we nearly set off a box of fireworks (from a stray spark) inside the house. The box was on a window ledge and Dad quickly flipped it out the window.
Southern Rhodesia devolved into Rhodesia, Unilateral Declaration of Independence, sanctions and then the insurgency started. Whether it was because of the possible confusion with the gunfire (which I never heard) or to save foreign currency (more likely), fireworks were banned. That was a tragedy!
I think just about all the kids got together to make a guy out of their dad’s old clothes stuffed with newspaper — it would end up on top of the bonfire. Some kids used to do the “penny for the guy” thing, where a few days before the 5th they would put their guy in a wheelbarrow or a small wheeled cart and roll it down to the shops at the bottom of the road and have a tin with a “Penny for the guy” label — and they would ask adults “Penny for the guy” — I bet they made a fair bit of money, but my mom and my friends’ parents wouldn’t let us do it because they didnt think it was “proper” 🙂