Summer Light Painting

July 15, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Once a month, a photography group I belong to meets to either discuss ideas, business topics or does a shoot.  This time, the main focus of the meeting was "Light Painting".  I've done light painting a few times before.  It's always fun.  The best part about it, is you can get as creative as you want.   You can use different light sources, angles, techniques.  It's a good time!  And everyone's photos look different.  The meeting was hosted by a fellow photographer.  Unfortunately, the only photographers that attended were the hostess and myself.  So we thought, screw it!  We're going to have fun regardless of the turn out.  I had heard about the "Steel Wool Project" a few years back and suggested it to her.  She was all for it!  

First and foremost, you need a few supplies (which most people already have in their house or garage).  You need steel wool, a whisk, rope or bungee cord and a lighter.  You need to do this in a wide open space.  DISCLAIMER: This is dangerous and should only be attempted by a responsible adult in a safe area.  You place the steel wool inside the openings in the whisk and tie rope the end of the handle.  Light the steel wool on fire and being to swing the whisk around on the rope (make sure the rope is a long enough to spin away from you without risk of injury).

Set your camera on a tripod.  To avoid camera shake, use either a timer or remote (I used a timer).  Luckily, my fellow photographer's husband was brave enough to attempt the dangerous portion for us to get these great photos! Of course, after he saw what the first photo looked like, he was pumped to keep going!  Light the steel wool on fire then use the rope to swing the steel wool around.  The direction and angle you use, will determine what your patterns/designs will appear on your camera.  Continue until the fire goes out.  The embers will break off the bundle of steel wool in all different directions.  Wear appropriate shoe wear in case you have to stomp out a rogue ember!

The magic comes from your camera settings.  For those of you who would like to try this at home, my settings are listed below.  Have fun with it!  Would love to see some of your photos!

Steel Wool Photos: ISO 320 24mm f/9 15 sec

Sparkler Portrait: ISO 1250 48mm f/2.8 1/30 sec

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