Black Friday. I Wish It Was Called LIGHT Friday!

Happy POST-TURKEY-DAY, folks!  They call this “Black Friday.”  What a drag!

I hope that you are all having post-tryptophan hangovers like me today – I didn’t get to spend Thanksgiving with my family this year, but I did get to hang out with three of the greatest people I have ever had the chance to know.  All in all, a great day (I did pretty much nothing most of the day) that ended with food, laughter, and good company.

If you’re on the road on a show this Thanksgiving weekend, I am especially hopeful that you were able to have some good times, laughter, and good company!

In honor of the “Black Friday” deals out there, I wanted to post some Amazon-specific deals on light-related and me-related stuffs for your enjoyment.  This is the kind of stuff I look at when having some retail therapy!


Logitech Harmony 1100 Universal Remote with Color Touch Screen

I have the Logitech DiNovo Mini remote, but I’ve been eyeing this one for a few months.  I have my desktop tower at home powering my 32″ LED TV, and I use it for everything from wysiwyg to watching Netflix and movies.  The Harmony 1100 is supposed to be pretty freaking awesome.

Coast LED Lenser HP8437 Focusing LED Flashlight X21

1300 lumens.  Almost 250 hours of battery life.  1500 feet on the beam.  This thing is definitely bad ass, which is also why I want one.

Amprobe ACD-16 PRO 1000A Red and Yellow Data-Logging Clamp-on Multimeter

A simple ammeter?  Not quite.  This clamp ammeter also has data logging capabilities, and you can hook it to a PC.  That, sir, is BA.

WBM 7-Inch Tall Himalayan Natural Crystal Salt Lamp

I like stuff that lights up – this Himalayan Salt Crystal lamp is pretty, it lights up (a bonus), and people claim that when lit, it’s a natural air cleaner.  I don’t know all about that, but I certainly know that they make pretty light inside your room!

Sekonic L-398A Light Meter (Black)

Everybody needs a goo incident/exposure meter.  I have a digital one, and I have a nice analogue one as well, with measurement needles and a dial.  I love to watch the needles quantify light and I love doing the conversions in my head – but you all knew I was a nerd, so it’s all good!

Sinometer Digital 4-Range 200,000 Lux Luxmeter, LX1330B

This inexpensive digital Luxmeter is a good stocking stuffer for any light lover in your life.  I have one, I’ve used it on a variety of projects with success.  It reads lux/footcandles, it operates on a silicon diode, and you can use it easily to read incident light or reflected light.  As students grow and learn about quantifying light, this is a great gift for them to learn the ropes of lighting measurement before going to get a nice Sekonic meter or another brand of your choice.  I highly recommend this item!

Philips 818655 Imageo CandleLight

This cool little light gadget from Philips is a cross between a low-output battery light and a votive candle with no fire.  Each “candle” charges in a base station that is build to house all parts of the system.  It’s kitchy, it’s neat, and they give off a nice, romantic glow.

OXO Candela DemiGlow Rechargeable LED Lights, set of 4

Another LED-powered candle replacement device, the OXO DemiGlow tealights set.  Same principle – chargeable base which doubles as a holder, nice, soft light, and a small form factor.  Kitchy?  Perhaps.  Interesting and different?  Of course!

Lumian Design LED Desk Light (built-in night light)

I find the form of this LED desklamp from Lumian Design pretty slimlined and unique – I’ve always been a fan of the shape of certain LED desklamps, especially after getting all gaga over Pablo Pardo’s “Brazzo” desklamp being on the show “Fringe.”

40 Watt – 1910 Edison Style – Nostalgic Antique Light Bulb – FerroWatt 1910N

I love, love, love these remakes of the original “squirrel cage” lamps – the filaments glow bright amber, and they make an excellent addition to ANY room, office, study, restaurant, or what-have-you.  These lamps are one of my favorite decorative light sources!

Sekonic L-758DR Light Meter (Black)

This is one of the nicer Sekonic exposure meters – and well worth the price.  Are there nicer ones?  Of course there are, and at a wide range of prices.  I’ve always kinda been partial to this model because it was my first light meter.  The L-758DR does incident readings, reflected readings, and it has a 1° spot meter.  All in all a good package!

Leica DISTO D3 Multi-function Laser Distance Meter

At some point in your life as a lighting professional, you need a good distance meter.  Those of us working in the business know that Leica distometers are among some of the best.  That’s really all that needs to be said about Leica distometers.  If you’re using a Fat Max laser meter or some other equivalent, give the series of Leica distometers a try.  I highly recommend them!

Fenix PD30R2 6 Level 235 Lumen LED Flashlight

The Fenix PD30 is a bright little flashlight!  235 field lumens, and several different modes make this a pretty cool addition to the road case.

Multi-Color E27 LED Light bulb w/ Remote

I get a fair amount of grief for posting this little E27 RGB LED spot with remote, but I don’t care – I have five of these little lamps, and they do just fine for the application they were designed for – residential pizazz lighting!  I have a few of them in uplight cans in my office lighting up my wall, I have a few at home in downlight cans to light up my apartment wall, and they’re a lot of fun.  The remote that comes with the lamp has several modes, colors, and intensity controls.  It’s a cheap little RGB LED spot, and I like it a lot.

Philips 69143/60/48 LivingColors Generation 2 Translucent Changing LED Lamp with Remote

I bought one of these Philips LivingColors generation 2 LED fixtures a few months ago, and I have it sitting atop of the bookshelf in my office.  It’s bright (really bright for its size), the remote includes a color picker and several hundred built-in color change settings, and as of today (November 26, 2010) it’s down 30 bucks on the Amazon site.  Check it out!

Philips 818564 LivingColors Mini Color-changing LED Ambiance Light, White

The Philips LivingColors Mini is the step-down from the larger, more expensive model above.  The remote is built-in to the side of the fixture as you see above, and it’s not clear like the original LivingColors series fixtures.  Still, a pretty cool and bright addition to whatever room you decide to color up!

Logitech diNovo Mini

This is the remote I currently have for interfacing my home desktop, which is the main computer I use for WYG, watching movies and TV shows, and rocking iTunes in my apartment.  This little thing is so freaking cool – if you use your home desktop like I use mine, it is a pretty efficient keyboard/mouse replacement.  Don’t get me wrong, you’re not gonna want to use this for word processing or anything like that, but it is certainly pretty great.

This is a short list, but I hope it was helpful! Check back for more lists as we get closer to Christmas!  Happy Black Friday, everybody!  I hope you find some sick deals!

PRG at LDI 2010

I had a chance to get up-close and personal with the Bad Boy CMY at LDI 2010 this year, having the demo from Chris Conti with PRG.  I’m a big fan of the Bad Boy fixture, and I have been for quite some time – I posted about it from the last LDI, in Orlando in 2009.  They’ve added the element of CMY mixing to the Bad Boy – I’m a fan of the quantum color mixing, but CMY is also very important to have available for a moving head for the obvious reasons.

Check out some images, I’ve got video coming soon!

The actual PRG booth – a replica of the 438 grid panels they installed into the National Convention Center in Qatar.

Big beautiful beams from the Bad Boy luminaire.

One of my favorite gobos, InLight Gobos‘ “Rubber Band Ball,” that comes standard with the Bad Boy!

Check out a gallery of PRG/Bad Boy images – click on one image and a viewer will open up for your convenience!

Halloween? When Did THAT Happen?!


Halloween was this weekend.  I have been so engrossed with work and research that I completely missed Halloween.  I didn’t get to dress up like a beam of light like I wanted!  Unfortunately, I don’t think that people give candy to 32 year old bald guys anymore.

My buddy Larry Huffman sent this video to me though, and I want to share with you!

I wonder how many programming hours went into that?

Also, let us not forget this crazy pumpkin LED madness:

LDI 2010: Candids and Show Floor Shots

Writing this really made my morning, and I hope it brings at least a smile to your face as you browse these candid shots from LDI.  I took about 1200 shots over the 4 days, and I am working on sorting these all out.  I have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable conventions ever – there was something about the vibe this year that was just unbelievably awesome.

Click on an image in the gallery below for a full-sized viewing experience!

Tony Awards for Lighting Design in 2010 – Some Detail On the Designers

I have to admit that apparently since I didn’t watch the Tony Awards last night, I am apparently a bad theatre person.  Or so I’m told.  You see, I’m actually lighting a show and making a paycheck right now, so I didn’t have a chance to sit and watch the Tony Awards show.  Did you watch, or are you baaaad like me?

The big lighting design awards last night were Best Lighting Design for a Play, and Best Lighting Design for a Musical.  In the PLAY category, the Tony was awarded to Neil Austin for Red by John Logan; in the MUSICAL category, the Tony was awarded to Kevin Adams for American Idiot by Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day and Michael Mayer.

Best Lighting Design for a Play: Red (Golden Theatre) by John Logan, lighting design by Neil Austin

Neil Austin – the LD behind the show:

Production images of Red:

(All images from Johan Persson, from the Neil Austin website)

About Red (from the Tony Award website):

Master American expressionist Mark Rothko (Alfred Molina) has just landed the biggest commission in the history of modern art. But when his young assistant (Eddie Redmayne) gains the confidence to challenge him, Rothko faces the agonizing possibility that his crowning achievement could also become his undoing. John Logan’s play is a searing portrait of an artist’s ambition and vulnerability as he tries to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting.

Producers: Arielle Tepper Madover, Stephanie P. McClelland, Matthew Byam Shaw, Neal Street, Fox Theatricals, Ruth Hendel/Barbara Whitman, Philip Hagemann/Murray Rosenthal, The Donmar Warehouse

The images from the show are amazing.  From a few people who emailed me today to tell me about the show, it was also apparently equally amazing, and Austin’s work is stellar.

Best Lighting Design for a Musical: American Idiot (Berkeley Rep) by Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer, Lighting Design by Kevin Adams

Kevin Adams, LD behind American Idiot:

Production images from American Idiot, from Kevin Adams’ website:

From the Tony Awards website about American Idiot:

American Idiot tells the exhilarating story of a new generation of young Americans as they struggle to find meaning in a post-9/11 world, in a journey borne along by songs of the band Green Day. The musical follows working-class characters from the suburbs to the city to the Middle East, as they seek redemption in a world filled with frustration. The cast of 19 is led by past Tony Award-winner John Gallagher, Jr.

Producers: Tom Hulce & Ira Pittelman, Ruth and Steven Hendel, Vivek J. Tiwary and Gary Kaplan, Aged in Wood and Burnt Umber, Scott Delman, Latitude Link, HOP Theatricals and Jeffrey Finn, Larry Welk, Bensinger Filerman and Moellenberg Taylor, Allan S. Gordon/Élan V. McAllister, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Awaken Entertainment, John Pinckard and John Domo

You’ve probably heard of Kevin Adams, if not Neil Austin too.  Kevin Adams got some press on last year for his design for Passing Strange (which has become one of my favorite designs ever).  I ran across an article in Live Design that asked Kevin five questions – this was my favorite two – students and people wanting to break into the lighting design industry, pay attention:

Live Design:  What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

Kevin Adams:  I was never really interested in a “career,” so I never really asked for career advice. I realized early on that employment as a freelancer was always going to be up and down, so I’ve tried to make every day less about working and more about making things that, at the end of the day, satisfy me. And if other people respond to the work I make, then great.

Live Design:  And what’s the worst?

Kevin Adams: Probably telling myself that a “career” doesn’t matter.

Amazing.  I hope this gives a little bit of insight into the Best Lighting Design category of the Tony Awards.  It is so important to me that people know more than just who won the award!

Patrick Woodroffe’s WYNN Hotel Lighting Design Photos

Peeps, I have so much content from LightFair 2010 that I am now getting to for your visual excitement – show floor, product reviews, interviews, photography, and general awesomesauce that’s up and coming in the next few days.  Las Vegas provides SO much good content!  Wait, is that an oxymoron?

This afternoon I have an excellent eye opener for you – hopefully that will blast you off into the day artistically! Here’s some photos of the Wynn outdoor lighting garden attraction designed by the absolutely outstanding Patrick Woodroffe and his team.  Enjoy!

A few favorites first, then an image gallery.  We got the image gallery set up so that you can comment on individual pictures now!

Thanks, Amanda Lynne.
(Written in May 2010)

All photos on this page are protected under an Attribution-NonCommercial-No-Derivitives license.  You can repost the photos and content as long as you give attribution to All rights reserved by, no changes to be made to the photos.  Email for permission through the contact form. Photographer credit, unless otherwise noted, is Amanda Lynne Ballard.

The Harbin Ice Festival in the Heilongjiang Province, China

I posted about this last year when I was becoming informed about it, and I am still in awe as to its beauty.  The Harbin Ice Festival in China is quite an amazing thing to see – one of these years I will get to see it in person, I have told myself.  These talented ice carvers are exactly that – talented.  I had the absolute pleasure to hang out with an old friend back in October who had a bunch of the Harbin ice carvers in his employ, and watching them work together is like watching a team that was born to make magic from ice.

Check out these quick minute-long videos:

One of my favorite photoblogs, Boston Globe’s Big Picture, had a bunch of just amazing images of this year’s festival – I grabbed a few, but you have to check out the rest of them.  Images below:








Welcome, 2010! Here’s Some Laser Graffiti!

After a small week-long break, I am back at the controls, ready to welcome in a new year.  It’s been a crazy decade, hasn’t it?  I got my start in lighting about 3 years before the new millennium started – now we’re a new decade in and I am still proud and thrilled to be a part of our industry.  I hope you are proud too – we’re pioneering folks, us lighting people!

I’m up to my eyeballs in it this morning, so I have a special treat for you on the first day back from all of your bye-bye-2009 debauchery.  Aron Altmark from the League of Lighting Twitter Folk (that organization doesn’t exist, I just made it up), in all of his guerrilla lighting  glory has created some light art that I wanted to show everyone..  I asked him to write a guest post on the work.  So – Aron, take it away!

Laser Graffiti – Aron Altmark

My inspiration for the laser graffiti project came from the Graffiti Research Labs L.A.S.E.R. Tag website. Theo, the creator of the software, has been working on this for several years now over in Europe, but I haven’t seen anything like it done in the United States recently. My setup consists of a 3000 Lumen projector (anything above 2500 lumens will work, but depending on the size of the projection and ambient light, more is always better), a 30mW green laser pointer (found on Amazon for ~$30), a decent video camera (used both a Canon 3CCD GL2 and Canon Optura), and a laptop to interface with (I use a Macbook Pro, Windows works too—use Theo’s Graffiti Research Labs L.A.S.E.R. Tag software). The camera needs to be able to have manual controls, as auto-focus will mess you up big time. The biggest consideration for any laser graffiti setup is power: I have a 250-ft heavy-gauge extension cord with an APC that connects everything up. A generator is preferable for portability, but being able to find outdoor power is a great skill to have. Also, it’s good to have someone who knows OpenFrameworks (Thanks to Ryan Wilkinson for help with software issues!).

For me, I think the appeal of the Laser Graffiti project lies in its purity. I am currently a freelance lighting designer in Orlando and am always looking for ways to further our art. Projects like this one, where the participants are more “light artists” than anything else, are truly beautiful to me. Doing art for art’s sake, and putting a piece of art out there for anyone to see, is something we don’t always get to do with traditional theatre. The L.A.S.E.R. Tag project in Vienna became a social and political forum for people to showcase their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on a massive scale—and that is really what drives me to draw inspiration from what they have done and put it in my back yard. Already, I have plans to take this setup on the campus of a university, and to use it as another form of expression for the students and faculty there. This is a method of self-expression and artistic freedom that doesn’t harm anyone or anything, is fairly environmentally friendly, completely erasable, and can be showcased wherever there is a surface, a power source, and people to participate.

Stay tuned for more from me in the coming weeks, and please feel free to contact me with questions or comments: on Twitter (@aronaltmark) or by e-mail (

Big thanks to Jim and for taking an interest in my work. Best blog on the net!

Thanks for writing that, Aron!  Check out Aron’s images from that night:







See You On The Flip Side, 2009!


2009 is nearly done.  2010 is about to make its debut performance.  What are you doing tonight?

One thing is certain – I’m glad to be starting a new year, fresh and with the potential for great things.  I have many things on my plate right now, and I hope to turn every one of those things into a success.  I hope that you have the same kind of goals too – and I wish you the best in rocking the freaking house!

2010 is already shaping up to be a great year on – I have some big interviews in the next few weeks, video, and some new stuff we’re rolling out pretty soon.  One thing is certain, and that is the fact that readers rock! From the deepest part of my heart, thank you so much for reading the site, and for making the site need to have a private server to handle the amount of traffic gets every day.  Please keep sending me tips on articles I would like, please keep sending me your questions, and please keep letting me know when something gets messed up with the website.  I appreciate it all!

I hope that you have a great New Year’s Eve with friends, family, and loved ones.  Let’s set our goals high for 2010 so when we look back on New Year’s Eve 2010 and say “man, we kicked some butt in 2010!”

Remember, like I said last year and will continue to say this year – eat some bread or pasta or something with carbs in it to soak up all of that potential 2010 hangover!

Thanks, Wikipedia!