What's up in the world of Steely Joe

adventures in photography and other stuff

Playing with Fire: Steel wool and light painting Photography

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I have been admiring the cool images created by other photographers by burning steel wool – just a quick Google search of “steel wool photography” gives you some amazing results! I studied up and decided that I would celebrate Labor Day by treating myself to an awesome session of throwing fire around. It’s easy enough to find directions on how to create the sparks, Photojojo has a nice simple tutorial. But since you can do this with a nice long shutter speed, why not add in some traditional light-painting as well?

Finding people to help with this when you are friends with a bunch of volcanologists turned out to be really easy (surprising, I know). The most difficult part of this project was finding a place where we could do it. People tend to freak out and call the cops if you try this kind of thing in a public area. It took a bit of scouting, but we found a great location with a big stretch of wet sand well away from anything that might catch on fire.

Three light sources:

Three light sources in this image are the spinning steel wool, a headlamp held in the models hand, and red and blue light wands held together to paint the swirls. Awesome! It looks like some kind of magic yoga.

3 light sources give this picture its unique look: the spinning steel wool, a Chinese lantern and a blue light wand for "painting" the ground.

3 light sources give this picture its unique look: the spinning steel wool, a Chinese lantern and a blue light wand for “painting” the ground. Amazing image right out of the camera!

Another 3-source image: the spinning steel wool fire, a Chinese lantern, and a green headlamp light. The model has to hold very still for this kind of result, which can be a challenge when sparks are flying around you. But look at the epic results!

 Want to see more? I posted some more from this session on my Facebook page: Steely Joe Studio on Facebook.

I am sure this will not be my last attempt at this style of photography. I see this more as a warm-up run for even more amazing creations in the future!


Author: steelyjoe

I have two passions, geology and photography. I'm a PhD student in Geology studying Volcano Geophysics and Geoscience Education at the University of South Florida in Tampa. I'm also a Professional Photographer. I post about my adventures in geology at https://bakingsodavolcano.wordpress.com/ I blog about my Wedding, portrait and event photography at: https://steelyjoestudio.wordpress.com/

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