We’ve all seen those homemade photos with several members of a family frantically oscillating a sparkler to spell out a word, but Stephen Orlando takes this fun little trick to the next level with his kayak stroke motion exposure photography. Using exposures of up to 30 seconds in relatively low light conditions, Stephen captures the motion trails of passing kayakers using special paddles with LEDs fitted along the shafts.
Stephan Orlando balances the exposure levels in his photographs so well that the actual kayakers don’t register as they glide through the pictures; only the piercing lights of the LED paddles are left behind. These swathes of coloured light are startlingly consistent — indicative of the kayakers’ finely-tuned technique — and would appear to the uninitiated to have been injected using Photoshop.
The LEDs on the kayaking and canoe paddles can be programmed to change through different colour spectrums throughout the exposure. Stephen Orlando has also experimented with football, karate, tennis, cycling and swimming (pictured below) in his motion exposure series, and you can see more of his work here.
I’m fascinated with capturing motion through time and space into a single photograph. Using LED lights with custom color patterns and long exposure photography, I’m able to tell the story of movement.Stephen Orlando
The artist says that he draws inspiration from the works of Étienne-Jules Marey, one of the first people to experiment with extended exposure photography using his Chronophotographic gun in 1882. This device was capable of combining 12 frames into a single picture, revealing the incremental stages of human gymnastic feats, horses galloping, and most famously a pelican landing.
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