drone lighting

1. Where was the image taken?

Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District National Park, UK. 


2. How much planning went into the shot?

Not a huge amount, however, I always visit the location during the daytime to find a composition that I like because you cannot do this when it is dark.


After that, it was just a case of waiting for the reservoir to fill up and overflow because we had a very dry 2018 in the UK the plugholes had not been overflowing for over a year. So as soon as I heard that they were flowing again I seized my chance to get the shot!


3. What gear was used?

My main camera for this shot was a Nikon D800 with 16-35mm lens. I also used a Mavic 2 Pro with two Lume Cubes attached with the mounts.


4. Can you share camera settings on this shot? (Shutter speed, ISO, Aperture, etc.)

For this shot, I took 4 separate exposures for the different rings of light and combined them in post. I shot them with a 10-second exposure, f/4.0 and ISO 100.


5. What inspired you to capture this image?

I had traditionally been using drones purely to capture stunning images from above, however recently I had started seeing these drone light painting images on social media so I was immediately interested in the creative possibilities!


I picked up the Lume Cube drone kit and started thinking about possible locations that would be interesting to shoot and the plugholes at Ladybower Reservoir were an obvious choice to capture something a bit different! I also enjoy the challenge of juggling between taking shots and maneuvering the drone.


It's quite a lot to think about at once which keeps it interesting!


6. How did you use Lume Cubes to pull it off?

I found that setting the brightness to 50% is an ample amount, and with the Lume Cubes excellent battery life, I can keep experimenting with different shots for hours.


For the light circles, I always angle the Lume Cubes straight down to the ground because you need to be able to see the lights for the entire duration of the circle.


7. How do you create such perfect drone circles?

It took a bit of practice and experimenting to get it right, but I use the GPS point of interest mode on the Mavic 2 Pro.


Hover over where you want the center point of the circle to be and then press the C1 button on the controller to set the point. Then you basically just fly backwards a bit to set the radius of the circle to how big you want it to be. As the drone is circling on its own you can play about with the radius and height, making it bigger or smaller as you like.


One interesting point to note is that I found the slower the drone is going the rougher the circles look. I tend to set the speed around 8-9 mph, and it seems like the momentum of the drones speed helps it to perform more perfect looking circles.


8. What's the deal with the black hole and what happens to your drone if it falls in?

Haha well if it falls in I don’t think I would ever see it again!


There are two plugholes at the reservoir that serve as overflows when it fills up. It was definitely a bit scary at first flying over them at night, but worth it to get the shot!


9. What was the response like when you posted this shot?

Pretty crazy it turned out to be my most popular shot so far which was exciting!


I was super stoked to win the #Capture4Cubes contest too, the Lume Cube AIR will be put into great use in my future shots!


10. Describe Lume Cube in 5 words or less.

The only light you need!




Jon Clark PhotoAbout Jon Clark                                                                                        I'm a Photography enthusiast based in the Peak District, UK. I have a passion for Aerial Photography but also just love getting out there and taking pictures! Check out more of Jon Clark's work on Instagram at @jonclarkphoto or on his website: jonclarkphoto.com