Pixel Stick - MK1


The pixel stick is a 75 full color RGB Leds what allows you to create spectacular light painting photography. This crude version 1 that allows me get some simple but amazing shots using some simple light patterns on the stick. Version 2 will allow full control of the animations and the ability to upload and display images.


  • 125cm strip of 3cm wide wood.
  • 75 Led strip of WS2812 RGB Leds
  • Arduino Nano (FastLed & Button libs required)
  • Momentary push button
  • USB Cable with Type A Plug for connection to Battery
  • USB Powerbank 2A
  • Black paint
  • Hotglue / Solder etc...


Cut the strip of wood and paint it black.

Solder 3 wires to the RGB Led strip, one each for GND, 5V and Data in. Make sure you solder the wires to the Data In (DI) side of the strip.

Once the paint is dry affix the strip of RGB leds to one side of the wood ensuring the adhesive is sticking. Use superglue if in doubt.

The Circuit

The circuit itself is very simple and consists of the Arduino nano, battery pack, A single button and the Led strip.

Upload Code to Arduino

Download the FastLED - Demoreel with Button code from HERE

Change buttonPin to 2
Change DATA_PIN to 6

Upload it to your Arduino.

Power up the Board and use the button to cycle through the various demo animations. if all is working correctly your ready to take some snaps.

Camera Setup.

Aperture: You can use anything from a large aperture (small f-number) at f/4 to a small aperture (large f-number) at f/22. As long as you stop down enough so that your point of interest is in focus and sharp then that is all that matters.

Shutter speed: The shutter speed depends on your location, the type of effect you are going for and how much light is around you - taking into consideration any ambient light too. If you're in a dark room experimenting with an object then 10-15 seconds is usually fine to start with.

ISO: Use the lowest ISO setting possible to avoid grain (noise) creeping into your shot.

Focusing: Set the lens to manual focus and focus by twisting the focus ring at the end of your lens. Because you will be shooting in the dark if you set the camera to autofocus it will struggle to focus and the camera will try to refocus each time you press the shutter button.

Thats it... start shooting.....

Some of my test images are below.

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