Waterloo photographer captures movement in mesmerizing LED snaps

Waterloo photographer Stephen Orlando captures movement using programmable LED lights across the region.

Waterloo, Ont. photographer Stephen Orlando has found a unique use for programmable LED lights.

The artist has started attaching the lights to people in an effort to capture their movements on film.

Orlando, who is an engineer by trade, said he began experimenting with photography seven years ago. Since then he has focused on images exploring human movements, from kayaking, to running, to playing a cello. 

"My goal is to try and show motions that are familiar but aren't really known," Orlando said. 

There is no Photoshop going on here.- Stephen Orlando, photographer

Orlando's photographs are mostly shot in Ontario, with many featuring sites in Waterloo Region, from white water kayaking in the Elora Gorge rapids to a soccer player running down a field in Bechtel Park, in Waterloo, Ont. 

Orlando uses a three metre long strip of LED lights that are linked to a small micro controller that allows him to program the lights. He then sets his camera for a long exposure, leaving the shutter of the lens open for up to 30 seconds to capture the movements of the lights. 

"I've been playing around with this long exposure, light painting photography for the last couple years," Orlando said. 

"It was only this summer that I started trying to do a bit more detailed work."

Although you will rarely spot a person in Orlando's photos, the artist said all the images are unedited. Instead, Orlando shoots the photographs at dusk and dawn so that the camera captures only the static objects and the bright LED lights in the shots. 

"These are all single images. There is no Photoshop going on here," Orlando said.