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    Capture night painting at its best with tips from the experts

Federation Pavilion, Centenial Park NSW 2013

Last week we told you about our exciting outdoor night photography event, Field of Orbs, celebrating the International Year of Light and National Science Week under the guidance of master night painter – Peter Solness.

Peter is well renowned for his night painting imagery and workshops in Centennial Park. Learn more about Peter and his love of night painting in this great SMH Spectrum article that ran on the weekend.

Between 5.30 and 7.00 pm Saturday evening Peter Solness and event sponsor Tamron will be instructing 101 orb spinners in Centennial Park’s Belvedere Amphitheatre to create a night of light, science and art.

If you are a budding or experienced photographer this is a fantastic opportunity for you to bring your camera and tripod to the Park and capture 101 spinning orbs in motion.

Tips for DSLR cameras

Here are some helpful tips for anyone bringing along their DSLR to take long exposed photos on the night:

  • When painting with light your camera cannot sense the level of light you require automatically so you will need to use it on the full manual functionality.
  • The Field of Orbs will be spinning for 30 seconds at a time so to be able to capture them properly set your shutter speed to 30 seconds and your aperture to F/8 with an ISO level of 200.
  • It is vital that you turn off the Auto-focus on your lens and you manually set your focus before shooting. This way your lens will not force any focus shifting during your 30 second exposures.
  • An important thing to note is to turn off any built in Vibration Compensation technology. VC is the proprietary technology built in to Tamron lenses, however your brand of lens may refer to it as Image Stabilisation (IS) or Vibration Reduction (VR).
  • Your choice of lens is also important and will depend on the final image you are going for. The best opportunity to capture the entire field and all 101 light orbs will be with an ultra wide angle lens.
  • When you set up your tripod make sure it is sturdy with no ground movement or slippage, and it is heavy enough to withstand any windy conditions. You can also weigh it down with anything heavy you can hang from the centre column, such as your camera bag.
  • Also remember to tighten up your tripod head to avoid any movement and any slight creep from gravity.

Tips for smart phones

If you don’t have all your camera equipment with you on the night and you want to use your smart phone you can download free app’s such as TimeExposure and LongExpo, which will allow manual control of shutter speed and ISO.

  • To capture the Field of Orbs again set your shutter speed to 30 seconds for each exposure.
  • It is crucial you keep your phone steady and still during the 30 second exposure. You can use a phone case with a sturdy built in stand, or a smartphone pocket tripod like the JOBY Griptight.
  • Lastly, use the delay timer in your camera app and set it for at least 2 seconds so that any movement that might occur when you push the shutter doesn’t result in a shaky photo.


Good luck photographers and please share your images with us on the night by tagging us with:





Event details

  • Meeting point: Belvedere Amphitheatre (near Woollahra Gates)
  • Date: Saturday 15 August 2015
  • Time: 5.30-7.00 pm
  • Tickets: Orb spinner tickets are now sold out but all are welcome to attend free of charge to take photos or observe. No ticket is required.


Don’t forget our Science in the Swamp event is on during the day so make a full family day of it in Centennial Park! Find out more details about our free community event here.

Artist impression of what you will see on the night at the rare Fields of Orbs event!

Artist impression of what you will you can capture with your DSLR on the night at Fields of Orbs!

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