Steel Wool & Photography Tutorial
I get a lot of questions and comments on a couple photos I took last summer using steel wool and long exposures. Below is a shot I took of my room mate Dustin standing out in the middle of a shallow reservoir. I was going for a reflection which turned out really well, not to mention there wasn’t much of a fire hazard because he was already in water.
To make a photo like this first you need to gather your materials. Everything can be bought at Lowe’s Home Improvement or Home Depot. What you will first need is the Steel Wool. The steel wool is fairly cheep. I would buy five or six packages for multiple tries. The type of steel wool or fiber width doesn’t matter. IT ALL BURNS! Second you need something to spin the steel wool with. I used an old coat hanger and wrapper the wire around the steel wool. The coat hanger didn’t work the best, but if you can find something to bend around the steel wool and keep away from your body anything will work. Third you need a lighter and maybe a sweatshirt.
1. Steel Wool
2. Coat Hanger
Now for the directions. Open the steel wool and use a small amount of steel wool. I suggest doing a test first before trying it in front of the camera. Wrap your wire around the steel wool a couple times. Light the steel wool on fire and spin your arm around like a cowboy. The sparks will shoot off of the steel wool. Be careful because it burns really hot and will remain hot for sometime. Again I had water in front of me so I could cool it off pretty fast.
I used a canon 7d with a tokina 11-16mm lens. Set the focus on infinity and left my aperture at f/11.0 because that is where my lens seems the sharpest. The ISO I set at 400 to keep the exposure time down. The exposure will vary in situations an how dark it is out. I used a in intervalometer so I could stop the exposure time whenever the steel wool went out.
For the above picture my camera settings
Exposure: 15 seconds
Focal Length: 15mm
Here is another picture I took of myself. There are unlimited possibilities using steel wool and being creative/fun.
Camera Settings for above:
Exposure: 9 seconds
Focal Length: 15mm
March 19, 2012
how to use steel wool and photography