I’ve been dabbling with light painting photography since 2010 and all this time the photographs are captured on a DSLR proper, so when today I read from the LightPaintingPhotography.com that someone has created an app for the iPhone that can capture long exposure, and display the goings on as live video, I was excited to say the least.
The app in question is PABLO, and can be downloaded for free on the App Store. Installation was as easy as downloading any app on the App Store, and on launching, Pablo requests that you create a user account. This account will serve as a platform for you to post your works, and view/like other user’s posts, just like Instagram or Facebook.
I’ll not discuss the social component of this app as it’s quite straightforward so instead I’ll dive into the image/video capture part. It gives you 3 settings to adjust:
Self Timer Delay - allows you to set a delay from 1-10 seconds to give you time to position yourself in front of camera before it starts recording
Exposure Time - set anywhere from 1s to 30s, or Manual for Bulb mode
Light Sensitivity - sets the app’s sensitivity level to the lights. This allows for light painting even in low light as compared to complete darkness as is usually required when doing light painting.
Initial tests (see images and video) produce quite interesting results. Although there seems to be a slight delay and slowness in the video, it’s certainly much more responsive than some apps I’ve tried before on the PC. A few tweaks on the sensitivity level can produce a decent shot, but what I like most about this is the live video that it produces as the light painting shot is being created, ala the Live Bulb mode feature ound in the Olympus OM-D series of cameras.
All in all, a nice app to add to the plethora of cool photography apps for the iOS. And while images created with this app is no match for a DSLR capture, the recorded video offers a nice behind-the-scene into how a typical light painting shot is created. A small nitpick is that I'd like the app to be able to record in other ratio too instead of the default square format. An Android version is planned and will be released soon, according to the developer.
Download PABLO here and try it for yourself.
Side note: I used the mobile phone holder from a selfie stick and mount it on a tripod for these shots.