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The orange pumpkin and some steel wool....

M38A1

Admin
Joined
Nov 28, 2006
Messages
19,397
Location
North of Weird
First Name
Scott
New Years Eve I went out to dinner with some really good friends of which a couple of them are incredible photographers. Our objective was to shoot the orb and some steel wool and see what we could come away with. After great deliberation, we decided we'd skip populated places and opted for a little park tucked out of the way to play.

We started out with the orange pumpkin as I like to call it, or simply "the orb". It's two red LED where one lead from the bulb is taped to the + side of a button cell battery about the size of a quarter and the - side to the other. Both are side by side mounted to the battery the same way. That assembly is then taped to the end of a piece of string (I think we used a $.98 four foot dog leash from WalMart). When the leads are affixed to the battery, the lights will illuminate.

To get the shot down, you set your camera on a tripod and have the person with the lead/LEDs at some distance away. Depending on the shot you want, foreground/background elements, this could be just about any distance. In this case he was about 25' away. You leave your camera on auto-focus and have them put a rock or some object on the ground and straddle that between their feet, then illuminate themselves with a flashlight, grab your focus on them and then switch off auto-focus. That locks the focus distance-to-subject in. Next, to get the party started all THEY do is start spinning the lead/LED thing in an up to down circle while at the same time taking baby steps around the fixed object for reference. The bigger the circle around the fixed object, the larger the orb. Here's the trick in getting a full circle looking orb - If you determine your exposure is 15 seconds, when you press the shutter you have to start counting from 15 down to zero as close as you can to seconds each for reference as the person swinging the lead/LED's has to have an idea of how fast they are moving in relationship to the exposure time remaining. Too fast and they overlap. Too slow and you don't have a complete orb. So here's one we did. You can see he just made a little mound of sand next to the water as his reference point.

ISO250
24mm
f/4
20 seconds

i-gRVBCsc-XL.jpg



Next up we decided to play with steel wool. I've never done this, but a simple google search of "steel wool photography" will give you a ton if inspiration. Yes - this is somewhat dangerous as the look is actually the result of slinging molten slag into the air. You don't want to wear nylon anything if you're the swinger person. Much like the orange pumpkin, you set your camera on a tripod and do the light focus thing to lock in a focus point. Next up, we loaded a kitchen wisk with "0000" steel wool (very very fine stuff). They come about 12 to a pack and are folded, so we unfolded one and then stuffed it in there. That wisk was attached to a cheap dog leash. A lighter got the steel wool burning at which point he began to swing it in a circle just like the pumpkin. The effect if this is MUCH larger and those sparks (molton slag) go a LOT farther. The effects can be dramatic by water. One 'pad' will burn about 20-25 seconds or enough time to get two shots sometimes. The faster they spin, the brighter and more sparks but shorter duration......

ISO800
24mm
f/2.8
10 seconds
i-DHqpJCp-XL.jpg



ISO640
24mm
f/2.8
10 seconds
i-zRGwrMj-XL.jpg


ISO640
24mm
f/4
10 seconds
i-6GCDcpX-XL.jpg


ISO640
24mm
f/4
10 seconds
i-gfJJq6L-XL.jpg


ISO640
24mm
f/4
10 seconds
i-Bjx2rJj-XL.jpg


ISO640
24mm
f/4
10 seconds
i-P4NSHkj-XL.jpg


ISO640
24mm
f/4
10 seconds
i-BWzhsTT-XL.jpg


Here's some additional information to consider:
WalMart sells a three pack of wisks for $3.98
WalMart sells a four foot dog leash for $.98
Lowes and Home Depot have the 0000 steel wool
DO NOT WEAR NYLON ANYTHING
Our swinger guy wore a hoodie sweatshirt and had no marks we could find
We had gauntlet leather gloves/safety glasses but he opted to not wear them

These over water shots he was on a big rock ledge about six or seven feet off the water at the edge of the rock.

If you do this, just don't do it around others as that stuff slinging off is HOT HOT HOT.

If you do this, post your shots!


.
 
Joined
Apr 6, 2007
Messages
472
Location
austin texas
First Name
Mike
Last Name
Miller
I wondered how you did this! I remember swinging 300 firecrackers on a string around my head, throwing them out 20-30 feet. Was an interesting series of shots. And I once set of 1500 bottle rockets across my front field using a 3" diameter propane torch. Like a barrage on Iwo Jima!
The reflection in your shots made Tara say "FISH!"
Steel wool has many uses!
 
Joined
Oct 9, 2007
Messages
11,788
Location
Far East DFW
I've seen the video of the guys doing this on the bridge and the girl with the umbrella and it sure looked like fun. Nice to see you getting out and doing it. love it with the reflection off the water.
 
Joined
Feb 9, 2008
Messages
5,804
Location
RIO DELL, CA
First Name
Wally
Last Name
Niebel
Ama-zing!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I wondered if I was the only one to see a fish
Well done! Thanks for sharing
 
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