Colorful Long Exposure Photos of Glow Sticks Dropped Into Waterfalls

Photographers Sean Lenz and Kristoffer Abildgaard of From the Lenz have come up with a brilliant light painting concept that produces gorgeous results. For their project titled Neon Luminance, they dropped glow sticks into waterfalls and then used long exposures to capture the bright and colorful trails as the sticks were carried down stream.

Other features of the landscape were lit using road flares, headlamps, and moonlight.

If you’re wondering how the duo managed to get such bright glows from their glow sticks, it’s because they used high-powered ones manufactured by Cyalume (The sticks can be purchased for about $1 each over on Amazon).

After dropping the sticks into various waterfalls in Northern California, they used exposures ranging from 30 seconds to 7 minutes to capture the movement of the sticks. For variations on the theme, they used different colored sticks and bundles of sticks strung together.








You can find higher-resolution versions of these photographs over on the duo’s website.

Neon Luminance by From the Lenz (via Colossal)

Image credits: Photographs by Sean Lenz/Kristoffer Abildgaard/From the Lenz and used with permission

  • canon fanboy

    some people have too much time in their hands

  • j

    hope they retrieved all the sticks!

  • Burnin Biomass

    I was going to say that’s some colorful littering!

  • Michael Zhang

    Yup. The collected them after each photograph.

  • Bruno

    this is gimmicky, if you just look at the photos itself its really a subpar image… yes, the effort is there but the talent is not….

  • Brixton

    Call me a tree hugger but something about letting the glow stick stuff flow and dissolve into nature’s waters seems wrong. That glow stick stuff is toxic, this feels like another form of littering.

  • worker88

    Interesting seeing the toxic or littering comments on this. Photography in general is more toxic and or hazardous than glow sticks. Analog or digital.

  • busdi111

    great idea and good to see a new angle on a ‘done to death’ photo. Love it.

  • ripley


  • busdi111

    I believe they just dropped the sticks into the water, not break them and empty the contents into the water. Also they picked them all up after so no harm done!

  • Brixton

    haha, weird that I didn’t think of that scenario. completely went over my head. thanks for enlightening me, i feel much better

  • Jake

    And they spend it trolling.

  • madmax

    As long as they collected all used sticks, I must say this is really original and beautiful.

  • Ivana

    Again, people who come to PetaPixel can’t help being negative. You may not like the aesthetic personally, but learn to appreciate it.

    Photographers shilling out hate on photographers. It’s like a disease.

  • Ken

    Please stfu, and keep your opinions to yourself.
    – Everyone you know

  • Desslok

    Yes, clearly you do.

  • snapshot1

    If people only knew. I know a chemical engineer working for a major chem company and she told me how it takes on average 50 gallons of highly toxic – not reusable not recyclable chemicals PER 27″ LCD just to CLEAN the space LCD screens are manufactured in. That’s before all the toxic stuff used and inside an LCD screen and that is only one part of a digital camera. There is a reason all this is happening over in China.

  • marine321

    If you think Bobby`s story is terrific…, a month back my sister’s boyfriend basically brought home $4932 just sitting there twenty hours a week at home and their classmate’s mom`s neighbour has been doing this for five months and earnt over $4932 in there spare time on their mac. the guidelines on this page… fab22.ℂom

  • bob cooley

    Don’t feel bad – I was thinking the same thing until I read it a little more closely – I was thinking – “cool effect – totally bad for the environment” :)

  • Aus_Guy

    So they say…

  • Rex

    Trash is trash. Littering is littering. Whether photography is inherently polluting is beside the point. If you Google Cyalume it contains suspected carcinogens. Probably not enough to kill a human being, but what about all the other critters? On another web site, a hiker said he found glow sticks in the shallows and a bag of left overs on a beach. If, as the hiker reported, the waterfall was in the Pt. Reyes National Seashore, I am pretty sure littering is not allowed and my guess is even THINKING about dropping sealed glow sticks could get one arrested. Sorry, with exposure times from 30 seconds to 7 minutes, I hate to guess how many glow sticks they used. Unless they had a whole posse, the probability they picked up ALL the glow sticks is negligible. “Take only pictures, leave only footprints”. If someone can document left over sticks in a national park/seashore/wherever and tie it to any of these guys photos, I would LOVE to have them reported to the National Park Service.


    I have seen this type of shot before – the glow sticks are kept on fishing lines and retrieved until the shot is done so no littering – assuming they had the wit to use fishing lines for these shots!