Select Page

Kite Surfing Light Painting

Niki Ramirez – Pro Rider Woodboard

One of the most active light painters and persons in general, Gunnar Heilmann, has been posting recently some photos from a project he did with Kite Surfing Light Painting. He actually got one of his photos from this as a magazine cover for KITE Magazin

We asked him a couple of questions about this interesting project.


Congrats on the magazine cover Gunnar! Awesome work! I don’t think I’ve seen something like that done before! 
Tell us a bit more about it. How did it start, where did that happen, who was involved, how long did you work on that?


Early this year Natália Cerqueira, who modeled in some of my aerial light painting shots, proposed photographing action sports and registering the trail of the sportsman using light painting techniques. We started with kitesurfing and got the support from Woodboard, an Austrian kiteboard brand, in a trip to Hamata, in Egypt.

At the time I thought I could just tape some LED’s to their boards and we will get some great photos. Anyhow somewhat they liked the idea and invited me on one of their next trips to see what develops.

At the end of April 2017, I joined the #Woodboardfamily on a trip to Hamata because of the weather conditions and the possibility of trade winds at night. We decided to do late night Lightpainting feat. KiteSurfing on the desert at the Red Sea. The organization involved getting permits from Egyptian Army, traveling to the desert and predicting the best times for wind conditions at these unusual hours for this sport. On the other shore from the Sea we could see Saudi Arabia, and we knew they could see our flashing lights, LEDs, torches, and lamps.

Gunnar Heilmann and Manfred Kernstock from Woodboard


Natália Cerqueira

Nino Jonas – Pro Rider for Woodboard


After trying some shots in daytime… we set the alarm to „middle of the night“ and waited for the wind to rise.

Some nights there was no wind so we ended up doing some light painting portraits…

Niki Ramirez – Pro Rider Woodboard

Manfred Kernstock from Woodboard

Natália Cerqueira


One night we actually  had a chance to get something done.

Niki Ramirez – Pro Rider Woodboard

Nino Jonas – Pro Rider for Woodboard

What were the challenges you had to face for this shoot and how did you made it happen?

The biggest challenge was the quickly changing light conditions. We started as early as 2:30 in the morning. But by the time we were in the water and the wind was blowing the sun was starting to rise. Essentially we had only about an hour or so for proper shooting before it got too bright.

Also, you don’t want your gear to get wet. When a kiter approaches you incredibly fast in the middle of he night you got to make sure he can somewhat see you. Also, important when you shine an X21.r.2 in his face and he is about to do a crazy jump. So some communication and practice were needed so they don’t run into the camera or us shining the light on them. But when you work with pro kiters this works out well I must say. Really nice working with Nino and Niki. Niki is actually the one who ended up on the Cover Photo.

Nino Jonas – Pro Rider for Woodboard

Niki Ramirez – Pro Rider Woodboard


Niki Ramirez – Pro Rider Woodboard

Are you planning to do some more of this?

I just returned from Namibia were I got another chance to do similar shoots. Again with the great organization and help of Natália Cerqueira.

I would love to do more of this for sure. If I can make it to Brazil in December / January I will have another chance to shoot with some excellent pro kiters in Macapa Piaui.


Is that your first magazine cover? Where can people see more of your work? 

YES ! That’s my first Cover Photo with light painting. I had a few publications in different magazines and blogs or was featured on some Instagram channels but not a cover. That is really exciting for me and I guess I have to thank Natália for it big time.

So thank you all who helped me in any way to get these incredible shots. Thank you Manfred; @ninefingershape Natalia; @thoughtfulrider Nino; @nino_jonas and Niki Ramirez.


If some of you want to see more of what I did, in terms of light painting you can find me under my name on pretty much all useful platforms ( Instagram, FB, 500PX )  and of course I have a website.



Gunnar created a youtube video where he talks about this project too! Check this out!


Gear used :

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

Samyang 14mm f2.8

LED Lenser X21.r.2

Manfrotto “Be Free”

Canon Speedlite 600 EX RT


Camera settings used:

F-Stops: F2.8 – F8

ISO: 100 – 800

exposure times between 5-12sec.


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.

Leave a reply


Our Sponsors

Instagram Feed
Something is wrong.
Instagram token error.


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This