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Case Study-Getafe’s Giant Lightman-DKL 2017


The Spanish Light painting community is one of the most active ones and we are very excited to have them as our guests here today.

On our first case study article, Frodo Álvarez DKL , walk us through a very ambitious project they successfully completed!


On Friday, June 23rd, 2017 a group of light painters made history in Getafe (Madrid) leading a great challenge: to make a great giant lightman, inspired by The Gulliver’s Travels, the greatest lightman ever made.


That night almost 20 light painters from all over Spain had gathered at Cerro de los Angeles in Getafe. Most of them had come because of iNight, a night photography Congress taking place the next day, and some other brave ones came exclusively for the occasion. Among them, many had previously designed or participated in ambitious works in Oviedo, Montserrat, Rome, Paris, Nevada Desert (USA), China … many of them in large world meetings by LPWA (Light Painting World Alliance)


Let’s start from the beginning. A few months earlier, when I heard about my participation as a speaker at iNight 2017 (“Frodo Álvarez DKL [Children of Darklight] Passion for Light Painting”), I decided to organize a new massive photo somewhere in Madrid for the night before. Talking about this with Iván Lucio, who along with Javier Jiménez composes the group of light painters Riders of Light, he proposes to me to try to obtain an authorization to work at Cerro de los Ángeles in Getafe. Riders of Light, both natural of Getafe, would be giving a master class of light painting that afternoon at Cultura Inquieta Festival which would be held there at that time, and it seemed a good idea to include it as part of the festival, so we decided to try to get the permission. There began the hard bureaucratic work for Ivan, not being as easy and agile as it seemed at first, but finally, the last week, we got the final authorization of the Bishopric of Getafe.


The idea had already begun. Inspired by The Gulliver’s Travels, we wanted to make a giant lightman, lying down, with volume and not flat on the ground, and surrounded by small lightmen at human size, which holds him with strings and stated constancy of his enormous size.


We had already managed to do such kind of Lightman in the past in the Light Factory, but it was only 3 meters.



The square was perfect for the occasion. We could not count on an economic support that would facilitate the use of a scissor lift providing us a high view, with the steps and the Christ at the background against the sky, but we could still take the photo from a high point of view on the other side, centered in front of the Christ, on the staircase, with the Ermita de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in the background.



We had already made a new ad hoc tool, our more than 3 meters (10ft.) giant extension pole, designed by Edu Cajigal, who is already the master craftsman of our customized tools for these important works.


The team was coordinated by a Whatsapp group, which was getting more and more on fire as the date approached.


The expected Friday afternoon the first to arrive were Edu Cajigal (Asturias) and Vikthor Clarke (Mallorca). After a while, I joined them with Irene Ilm, and we had a visit for a while by Pilar Huecas and Víctor Peseta (Flashes en la Noche), all of them from Madrid. It was time to start.


We checked the final point of view and verified that our sketch design worked. The next step was the hard work of marking on the floor the silhouette of the giant Lightman, with chalks, helping us with the irregular and sometimes illegible grid of the floor. It was not a quick task, and we were working against the clock because it was getting late. The others were coming in little by little. Luis Medina, Sfhir, Xandra, Pope, Albert, Iván Lucio, Javier Jiménez, Iris, Iván Barco, Patry Diez, José, Ricardo … I do not remember the order, but I do remember the mess when Ivan Barco appeared with a bucket full of cold drink …

Getafe's-Giant-Lightman-DKL2017-5 Getafe's-Giant-Lightman-DKL2017-1

When we finished marking a while later, we placed our cameras in position. Two Olympus cameras would do the main job, and a third camera would make a timelapse of the process.


Then we distributed the work: there would be tree and hermitage illuminators, at least three of us would make the giant lightman, someone would control the cameras, and the rest would make human size lightman.



We start with tests of light, lightmen, and giant lightman. Our idea seemed to work, and it was going to take shape. The lighting would be made with Led Lenser lanterns, the lightmen with E.L. Tape and freehand pencil from Herramientas Lightpainting, and E.L. tape from Neon-Flexible, and the giant lightman with the special tool manufactured by Edu. Everything was in order.


It was time to start and the light choreography began. Our work was taking shape. The creative process of the giant lightman was not fast. We had been doing it for 20 minutes and we just had the head done… It was going well, but we started to be aware of the time,  if we wanted to get our idea done, there was no time for error … the photo was going to be too long to repeat because we were going to end very late.



One hour and forty minutes later we finished our image. We had the location, with the hermitage in the background, illuminated, illuminated trees, and in the square a set of lightmen and a large lightman, measuring 81.78 meters for the long side and 34.48 meters in the wide side, the area of hands. Only the painted surface of the pseudo-Gulliver occupies a whopping 1400 square meters.





Directed by:

Frodo Álvarez DKL

Original Idea:

Frodo Álvarez


Coordination & Location:

Iván Lucio

Lightpainting Tools:

Olympus camera OM-D E-M1 Mrk II, Olympus camera OM-D E-M1

Custom Special Tool by Edu Cajigal

Freehand Pencil and E.L. Tape by Herramientas Lightpainting

E.L. Tape by Neon Fléxible

Led Lenser flashlights for location light

Collaboration :

Obispado de Getafe
Ayuntamiento de Getafe
Cultura inquieta

Light painters :

Frodo Álvarez Dkl (Children of Darklight)
Vikthor Clarke
Javier Jiménez
Edu Cajigal
Alexandra Lunar
Irene ILM
Patry Diez
Luis Medina
Jorge Echeverría
Ivan Lucio
Iris Cebrian
Ivan Barco
Albert Amautell
José Castilla
Ricardo Sánchez


On behalf of Light Painting Blog, I would like to thank  Frodo for this article and thank all the team who made this nice project happen! Keep up the good work guys!


How did you like this project? Feel free to leave any comments or suggestions below!




About The Author

Jannis Sid

Jannis Sid aka Luplof is a greek Light Painter based in Helsinki Finland. Working for 20 years in the entertainment industry as a light designer he has developed a special relationship with light. Light painting since he moved to Finland in 2010, more actively since 2015. In 2017 he founded the LightPaintBox and started this blog.

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