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Artist Uses Five Drones to Create Giant Light-Painted Drawing in the Sky

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Artist Frodo Álvarez, who goes by the name Children of Darklight has completed an incredible, complex five-drone collaborative light painted drawing in the sky. The finished product is huge and insanely detailed, and depicts a man about to kick a ball, floating above a soccer field.

Álvarez has been a light painting artist since 2009 and has been able to do it professionally since 2015. He had worked with drones in the past, both for an event in Las Vegas as well as for the Iberian Drone League where he created a photo showing the path that the racing drones would take.

Because of these experiences, Álvarez says that he was aware of the potential and possibilities of light painting with drones. When Creartys approached him with a new project for a soccer championship, he decided to bring that potential into reality.

Álvarez worked with the UMILES Drone Light Show drone team to design and light paint the likeness of a soccer player about to kick a ball into the sky.

“They did a great job programming the drones, so our photographic challenges were that we would just have four or five attempts to frame the scene, set the perfect orb size, play with depth and perspective — depending on how close or how far we were to the camera — and to have good exposure of the lights painted in the scene,” Álvarez tells PetaPixel.

“We only had four attempts because of the drone batteries and the curfew at 11 PM because COVID restrictions,” he continues.

Álvarez says that it took five drones to create the drawing to allow for the correct exposure, and the drones had to be meticulously programmed so they would be able to perfectly repeat the drawing for each of the four attempts. The finished images were captured on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and the Olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro lens. The grass was also illuminated using light painting (a Light Painting Paradise filter and two Ledlenser MT18 lights that were filtered with green) as was the ball, which was made using the Ball of Light tool.

Because of the timing, the first exposure was made with blue hour light in the sky, which Álvarez says might be the group’s favorite because it allows a better perspective of the environment to appreciate the sheer size of the full drawing.

The last attempt is more of what Álvarez describes as a “clean” shot, and has a very dark sky. This image was made using Live Composite mode on the Olympus.

Below is a final shot that combines a portrait of the whole team with the light-painted drawing in the sky.

For more from Álvarez and Children of Darklight, make sure to follow them on Instagram and subscribe to their YouTube Channel.


Image credits: Photos by Children of Darklight and used with permission.

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