Understanding Steel Wool Sparks Photography

June 17, 2016

Have you ever seen those pictures of lights like the one below) with what looks like long trails off the main shape and wondered how it was made? It is a form of light painting, but not made with a flashlight or LED. It is made with burning steel wool and is called steel wool sparks photography. Here is what you need to know to make your own fantastic night-time shots using burning steel wool.steel wool trick photo


Steel Wool. Of course if you are burning it you need it. You want extra fine steel wool grade 0 or below. Some folks prefer 0000 grade, and others like it less fine. Grade 1 and above will not burn like you want so while it might be good for cleaning, it will not work for making sparks.

A cage. Okay this can be a cheap whisk, or you can use a suet cage, or even just stuff the wool into the loops of a chain. The majority of folks get a dollar store whisk with a hook on the end of it. This will hold the steel wool pad which is fluffed up so it can burn evenly.

Something to swing said cage with. Some people opt for a steel chain or cable, others go with a heavy leather dog leash. One case even suggests a strong wire. The point is to have something to grip and swing the cage with to help make the light shape you are after.

A DSLR Camera and Tripod. Any long exposure needs to be steady so tripod is necessary. A good DSLR camera will have the features you need to take this type of image.

Some way to light the Wool. It needs to be burning, so you can use a 9-volt battery (slow but works) or a good lighter.

Additionally you will want to have flashlights and safety gear to put out the wool (bucket and water plus a fire extinguisher). It is highly recommended to wear black clothing for the person doing the spinning so that they will not be visible in the final image. Long sleeves and pants, a head covering, eye protection, and gloves are suggested. Find a good location – and make sure the surroundings do not present a fire hazard. If possible spray the area down to prevent setting fires.

Set up your camera, use the flashlight to help focus it, and then set the timer for the exposure. 30 seconds is good. Light the wool. If you want to make an orb you will need to swing in a circle and move it around so that you are the center. Play with how you move to get different shapes.

Trick Photography And Special Effects 2nd Edition Review

April 17, 2016

trick photo cyclist

The “Trick Photography and Special Effects” guide might nicely be among the most intriguing, notable and fascinating books on photography you’ll at any time discover. When you initially take a glance at the things the guide would aim to show you, nevertheless, you may be taken aback slightly, particularly since the techniques explained aren’t always too traditional.

A few of the ideas which are offered may really be considered questionable, as many would think about photography to become a kind of artwork that needs the very best precision equipment, as well as characteristics this kind of as persistence and dedication.

Based on the author of the guide, however, this isn’t usually the situation, as even a few of the most pretentious special effects may be discovered rapidly and accomplished without the usage of costly equipment. This was the element that attracted me probably the most, as I’d rarely noticed a guide that might paint this kind of a colorful image when presenting these kinds of techniques.

A few of the Problems Covered by the Guide

“Trick Photography and Special Effects” isn’t a standard book on photography. Even some mainstream guide authors would most likely discover the techniques provided right here to become at least intriguing. Let us consider a glance at some of them, consequently, and find out the way they fit in to the image alongside with a few from the much more traditional methods to artistic and novice photography.

There’s an excellent offer of helpful info offered about capturing infrared mild. Not long in the past, infrared photography was extremely costly, necessitating the usage of unique infrared movie and filters which were difficult to operate with. The guide requires a brand new method, providing info regarding how to use digital single-lens reflex cameras for attaining impressively comparable outcomes.

360 degree photography and unique effects this kind of as freeze movement or long exposure photos have also been a thriller to many novice photographers. With a few of the complete and remarkably easy methods offered in the guide, nevertheless, the “magic” driving these methods also begin to become much more effortlessly understandable.

The guide writer also spends a lot of time on light paintings, that is among the preferred topics of novice photography fanatics. Whilst I’ve discovered a few of the methods here to become relatively too simplistic, the creative outcomes you are able to attain with these inventive lighting styles are fairly interesting.

For many really surrealistic pictures, the guide gives you some substantial pc modifying methods that provide incredibly practical outcomes. I’ve significantly loved this component, because it produced me understand the limitless choices that computer systems can provide when blending their performance with advanced photography techniques.

No Special Equipment

trick photo swimmer

An intriguingly sensible facet of placing the directions in the guide to some great use is the fact that you won’t require a lot from the gear that’s frequently utilized by an expert photographer. This really is fantastic, simply because, in the end, not everybody can pay for to be an expert, regardless of their talent.

The guide gives you some less expensive and easier ways of utilizing home products this kind of as flashlights or laser pens, and various modifying methods that only need a pc with a few photograph modifying applications and plug-ins installed. It does not truly get any simpler than this, and also the reality is the fact that the outcomes are fairly outstanding.

That is why I’d even recommend a few of the techniques explained previously to expert practitioners, a few of which could not even be familiar with these choices. For instance, with a regular DSLR and a few colored pencils, you can create amazing background light effects.

The Readability of the Guide

Trick Photography and Special Effects Is really a Fantastic Guide For newbies.

Maybe among the most nice facets of this guide is the fact that it’s really meant for individuals who have not however discovered a lot about photography. It causes it to be fairly distinct which you do not require an excessive amount of advanced understanding so as to consider pictures which will have the ability to impress.

Whilst the nearly 300 pages of directions and recommendations present the different unique impact methods inside a pleasant method, the guide isn’t usually “light” to read. It’s, nevertheless, incredibly engaging, and also the way by which the freeze motion photographs and energetic variety landscape pictures are offered could make a long lasting impression on even a few of the most skilled photographers.

Could it be Well worth the Investment decision?

Investing nearly 100 $ on an e-book might usually be regarded as a costly purchase. Nonetheless, whenever you look at just some of the advantages the guide can provide, you will see that it would really be worthwhile.

Usually, photography is a lot much more pricey than that, as, even when you don’t need to make uncommon unique results, the gear required may really attain the cost of several thousand bucks in a few instances. Nevertheless, while you will see when you place a few of the info within the guide into practice, there are plenty of stuff you can attain without using costly equipment.


Certainly it may be true that a few of the well-versed photographers who’re somewhat much more attracted from the traditional facets of the apply may think about the modern, questionable method from the “Trick Photography and Special Effects” guide isn’t in keeping with the soul from the art.

Nevertheless, the development of the ages carries on to unfold in all locations and practices, as well as in my viewpoint, it might be a pity to dismiss the good aspects of all of the outstanding, inventive methods offered within this guide. I think that pictures equally depends upon technologies and artwork, and also the suggestions offered by this book emphasize the significance of both of them.

Click here for a more in-depth look.