We can’t tell you how much we were looking forward to returning to FESTiFOTO 2021.

After such a long, hard year for everyone, we’ve needed a weekend where we could get back to enjoying, even with restrictions, the pleasures of light painting and our friends in the light painting community.

In this edition of FESTiFOTO 2021 our dear friends, organisers of the festival and members of the Photographic Association of Canals, AFCA, were clear that the art of light painting had to continue to expand, and so they put together a line-up of great speakers, overcoming lots of obstacles along the way!

From our perspective, our FESTiFOTO 2021 journey started on Thursday afternoon.

After leaving Madrid and passing through Albacete to pick up Iris Cebrian, we arrived at the hotel where we were all staying.

At that point the excitement really started to build…

some greetings with elbows…

some hugs with masks…

We had all been so looking forward to seeing each other again!

Of course, and as expected, the conversations and laughter between everyone that night laster longer than expected and before we knew it, it was time to go and get our strength back.
We had an intense day ahead of us the following morning, and with the lack of sleep, even litters of coffee can’t work miracles, so a strategic withdrawal to bed was called for. 

The day started with our ambassadors Frodo Álvarez and Iris Cebrián who went to Francesc Gil high school to give a brief introductory talk to the students and to introduce them to lightpainting.

The kids had a great time taking their first lightpainting pictures and we think it was a very enriching experience for all of them and something that we hope to repeat in future years.

After that, it was time for us to collect our accreditations and get all our products ready.
Then we were off to visit the exhibition of photographs from the conference speakers – which this year was held on large panels in the street, so that everyone could enjoy the artworks.

Now we could really say that FESTiFOTO had started.

The afternoon opened with a few brief presentations of new tools.

First, Ivan Barco presented the LightPainting Paradise tools: The freehand tips, filter holders for LumeCube and Ryu’s Step Up Ring for Adaptors.

Then it was the turn of Frodo, from Children Of Darklight who showed off his Scanner DKL Pro – ideal for portrait illumination amongst many other things thanks to its versatile accessories.

Then it was the turn of the first speaker, Dario Cuesta.

We had really been looking forward to seeing him given be hadn’t been able to attend last year.

After a few minor technical setbacks which were easily solved, he showed us all his night time photography, taken in his characteristic style that mixes fixed lighting with dramatic skies in spectacular locations.

His talk was a source of inspiration for many of us, including little Aran Calero, who went out that very night, together with his father Carles (and other artists) to try out some of his ideas.

If you missed the live streams at the time, you can catch them here:

click here


Standing in for our good friend Jose Moroño (who was very much missed and who we hope to be able to see again soon) was photographer Antonio Arias.
During his presentation he showed us his journey through the world of light painting, from his beginnings in 1992 (using analogue film) right through to his most recent works – it was incredibly interesting to see his artistic trajectory over time.

After his talk, the members of AFCA had kindly prepared a snack breakfast for everyone, with pastries and chocolate napolitanas that we could partake during the break between conferences so that we could continue the day full of energy

Next up was David Araujo, member of Light Explorers, who surprised everyone with an incredibly informative talk in which he not only showed us his exceptional portrait work, where he mixes multiple tools and works together with his other half as model and stylist, but also talked about all the problems and issues encountered and how to get round them to achieve the final result.

Without doubt a very informative talk.

Talk finished – it was time for lunch!

We met in a restaurant, ate a fantastic menú and, after a Delicious “cremaet” (Valencian speciality alcoholic coffee) to get our energy back we continued with the talks.

Ladies of the Light

Being honest, the after lunch speaking slot at any conference is the hardest.

Just after lunch, when everyone has a full belly and just wants to go to sleep, but Ladies of the Light came on strong to make sure no-one was napping!

They began their presentation with a live session where they took a photograph as if it were a rehearsal prior to the talk.

During that rehearsal, Ladies Night by Cool and the Gang started blasting out of the speakers and there was no way anyone was thinking about sleep any more – that music gets everyone dancing!

After making sure they had grabbed everyone’s attention, and taking their photograph, they began their talk: In the light of women 2.0 – an exquisite project that deals with capturing the lives of different women throughout history through light painting photographs.

Undoubtedly, between their gift of oratory and their beautiful photographs, this talk left captured everyone’s imagination.

We had also been looking forward to seeing our friend Pedro Real again since he had been unable to attend the conference last year.

Pedro spent the talk showing his incredible portfolio of impressive work and then left us all speechless with a final performance.

All the lights went out in the auditorium and then electronic music began to blast from the speakers at serious volume.

At the back of the auditorium, the doors opened and all that could be seen were two monstruous silhouettes.  Suddenly there were screams, chains, a head flying – Pedro, what a mess you have made!

With the help of the incredible Arán Gaspar, a phenomenal make-up and film effects artists, and together with her models, they put together a photographic demonstration that left us with our mouths open!

Finally, at the end of the day, some of the speakers were able to take some photos of the models, taking advantage of the incredible styling and make up which had been prepared – what a great way to end FESTiFOTO 2021!

After all the excitement, it was time to eat and enjoy a few beers with our Friends.

We had also a great light painting portrait done by our great friends Frodo, Alejandro Martín and Antonio Martínez.

Fotografía realizada por Frodo Alvarez, Antonio Martinez y Alejandro Martín

On Sunday it was time for everyone to go back home, with the exception of our ambassadors Frodo and Iris who had agreed to give a talk at at the Sivera Font secondary school on Monday morning, to introduce the kids to the art of light painting.

They took advantage of the situation and, that evening, they went out to make drawings with our new freehand tips and  Lightpainter Ryu’s Lightworks flashlight in a swimming pool.  You can see some of the resulting shots below

On After the visit to the institute and having some fun with the students, our long weekend came to an end.
After saying goodbye, and after Jose Emilio had given us some strawberries from Canals (the best in the world), it was time to go back home – exhausted but happy.

As always, the organisation this year was incredible.  We could not be more grateful to Jose Vicente Micó, Jose Emilio and all the members of AFCA, the city council and anyone else who worked tirelessly to make this all possible.

We can’t wait for next FestiFoto 2022
¡We already miss you!

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