Creativity should not have any limits! Spinning steel wool is a unique technique that could add excitement to your photography skill. Earlier we discussed long exposures using sparkles and fireworks. Today Evan expends this technique (of long exposures) further, by introducing the technique of spinning steel wool.
The best time of the day to shoot flying sparks is during the blue hour. Starting about 30-45 minutes after the sunset. At that time of the evening the ambiance is dark enough to do long exposures but the sky still has enough color (deep blue) for breathtaking effect.
Capturing sparks flying off from a steel-wool pad will require a long exposure or an open shutter (B).
Shutter speed: 15 or 30 seconds should give you enough time for creative spinning.
ISO: Keep ISO at 100 to minimize the grain. (200 is ok). Please note that the camera will produce more unwanted noise during the long exposure. From my observation, images shot using shutter speed below 1/15 sec will have more grain/noise that those shot at a faster speeds (given the same ISO).
F-stop: Really depends on ambient light conditions and desired DOF. Experiment! Start around f5.6.
While this technique has numerous creative implications some safety precautions should be seriously taken in consideration: Do not try this indoors. Do not practice this technique in the areas prone to wild fires. Avoid areas with dry grass or any flammable objects or substances. Keep a fire extinguisher ready. Protect your eyes, hair and skin. So wear goggles,hat, long pants and sleeves. (we have a lot more tutorials coming up so you will need your eyes in the future)
Have fun. Post your results below using share your shot feature in comments.
This tutorial was brought to you by our regular contributor Evan Sharboneau. Evan has published a pretty cool eBook: “Photography Tricks and Special Effects” it’s packed with unique techniques and mind-bending photographs: for more information click here