Get CRAZY shots with STEEL WOOL photography!!!

Are you looking to unleash your creative side and try something new in your photography? Look no further than steel wool photography! This unique and exhilarating technique involves spinning burning steel wool to create mesmerizing light patterns and trails. From sparking showers of light to fiery orbs hovering in mid-air, the possibilities are endless with steel wool photography. In this blog, we will explore the world of steel wool photography, providing tips and tricks for getting the perfect shot, sharing inspiring images, and showcasing the incredible results that can be achieved when you let your creativity and imagination run wild with this exciting and daring form of photography.

Get CRAZY shots with STEEL WOOL photography!!!


(slurping noise) Mm, aah! What’s up everybody? Peter McKinnon here and today, today’s a special day, and let me tell you why. I’m trying to get my dexterity back ’cause my hand is still, thank you for the concern, by the way, those of you who have been asking what happened. I fell off my one-wheel, as some of you know. But, I’ve been playing with the cards to try and get some of my dexterity back. So, it’s working. Things are looking up. So today, we will be diving into the world of steel wool photography. Now, I have seen this all over the internet. I’ve seen it on Instagram, actually, it’s pretty popular on Instagram because it looks insane. I’ve, self admitted, never done it before. When Chris took me out for the first time to do some steel wool photography, I’d never done it. I didn’t know what to expect, I had no idea how it worked. I’d just seen these photos around on Instagram. I’ve double tapped them myself. But I really had no idea how it was physically done. So I finally got the opportunity to do it. Chris took me out, it was a great time. He thought this would be something you guys would really enjoy doing, and I wholeheartedly agreed. So, I’m really excited for Chris to Jump into the pilot seat today and lead you guys on this steel wool photography journey. If you guys don’t remember Chris, he’s the one that took me wakesurfing. Super cool guy, incredible creative force. If you’re not following him on YouTube, he also does tutorials and cool stuff like that. He’s just relaunched his channel, so links are below if you wanna check him out, recommended. And if you’re not following him on Instagram already, come on! Give him some love, he’s an incredible photographer. But before we get into that, a quick shout-out to our sponsor for today’s episode, which are the fine folks over at Squarespace. If you need a website, boom! These are the guys to go to. I actually just recently changed my website. I had like 17 pages and it was just this big, long thing. And I just made it one page, which I love. And the fact that you can just flip it around so easily at anytime is awesome. So, they’ve got tons of award-winning Designer templates to choose from. Award-winning 24/7 customer service. So if you happen to break the internet while you’re making a website, (typing sounds) They’ve got your back. There’s nothing to install or update at any time. It’s super easy to use, and if you wanna try it out yourself, head over to Enter code mckinnon at checkout, and save yourself 10% off your first purchase. I highly recommend it. If you wanna know more about that, I did a video up here that you can also check out. Links in the description. You’re welcome. Alright, enough talking for me. I’m gonna hand things over. So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, Chris Hau! – What’s up, guys? My name is Chris Hau. Photographer, cinematographer, business owner. I run a creative agency, and I also have hair like Fabio, and I cleaned it today just for this video. So, I’ve been shooting since I was about eight years old, But professionally, probably for like the last eight years. When Pete used to shoot weddings and it was actually my first wedding and I had this crazy homemade video rig that I made from like dollar store items. I don’t wanna talk about it, that was a weird time in my life. But, let’s get back to what we’re talking about today. We are talking about steel wool photography. This is one of the coolest trends that you see on Instagram right now. It kind of looks like people are just like spinning fire. That they have like a dragon in their hand, or something like that. But, essentially what it is is that you use the material steel wool. You put in this device that we’re gonna show you how to make, you light it on fire and you spin it so that all the embers just kinda fly everywhere, and when you combine that within long-exposure on your camera, You get some pretty dope results. kind of like this, this, or this.


So before we get into this, I have to say this ’cause it’s extremely important. Safety comes first. You guys are playing with fire at the end of the day. My first experience with this is I actually wasn’t as safe as I should’ve been. I almost lit a field on fire ’cause I was so pumped. We don’t want this to happen to you. I don’t wanna read about you in the news about being like all these fields around the world are setting on fire because Chris Hau Taught them how to use steel wool photography. That’s not happening today. Be responsible. Remember, at the end of the day, you’re supposed to have fun, not get burnt. Just a reminder, if you guys are underage, just make sure you have an adult with you. And if you are overage, just bring a friend along. This is one of those scenarios where it’s best to do it with a friend or have somebody who can be there with you to just keep an eye on stuff. So, quick reminder, be safe, and we’re moving on. So step one, we’re gonna delve into the materials that you need to actually do this. So, the basic things that you’re gonna want at the end of the day is a stainless steel whisk. Now, I used a whisk, oop, all the things are falling out of this. I used a whisk that had plastic on it, and as you can see, it just melted it all over the place. So, highly recommend for your first material a stainless steel whisk. Number two, you’re gonna need some sort of string, or in this case we used a cannon lanyard. (sparking noise) Or you can also use like a bathtub chain. Whatever is gonna be the safest option for you at the end of the day. Preferably use a material that’s not gonna catch fire. Okay, the second and actually the most important part of this is the steel wool. Now, I would recommend that you use A thin-grade steel wool. You can find this at most local hardware stores. It’s actually used to clean like stainless steel or metal objects or in this image here, it looks like a baby’s crib. But it’s probably not a baby’s crib, but I would recommend that you use a thin material Because it actually burns a lot quicker and brighter. So, this is the steel wool when you take it out of the bag you’re gonna try to grab a little strip of it that you can use. You have to be really strong, like Arnold. (laughs) This is not enough. But you’re gonna grab a little bit more that you can use on this. I’m making a mess of Pete’s desk right now. So, if you want some steel wool go to Pete’s desk. This is our device that we’ve made. So you’re gonna attach the string to the stainless steel whisk, And to apply it you just open up a section, shove these steel wool into our whisk. And when you’re out on the field, you’re gonna take your lighter, you’re gonna light the steel wool, and once the fire starts just kind of creeping in a little bit, you’re gonna start spinning it And that’s what’s gonna increase the brightness and all the embers are gonna start flying everywhere. And when you combine that with your camera with the right settings that we’re gonna talk about afterwards, you’re gonna get these extremely cool results.

Taking Photos

So now that we’ve built our steel wool device, We’re gonna actually go out and take some photos now. So, obviously being that this is a long exposure, you’re gonna need a tripod. So, when…

FAQ: Get CRAZY shots with STEEL WOOL photography!!!

What is steel wool photography?

Steel wool photography involves spinning burning steel wool to create a shower of sparks. The long exposure of the camera captures the sparks’ movement, resulting in stunning and unique light trails.

Is steel wool photography safe?

While steel wool photography can be visually striking, it does come with some risks. It involves using fire and steel wool, so proper safety precautions must be taken to avoid accidents. Always have a fire extinguisher on hand, wear protective clothing, and choose a safe location away from flammable materials.

How can I get started with steel wool photography?

To get started with steel wool photography, you will need steel wool, a whisk or metal cage to hold the wool, a camera with manual settings, a tripod, and a lighter or 9-volt battery to ignite the wool. Make sure to practice in a safe location before attempting the technique in more challenging environments.

What settings should I use for steel wool photography?

For steel wool photography, set your camera to manual mode with a low ISO (around 100-200), a small aperture (f/8 to f/16), and a long exposure time (typically 5-15 seconds). Experiment with different settings to achieve the desired effect.

Are there any legal restrictions on steel wool photography?

Some locations may have restrictions on using fire or steel wool, so always check local laws and regulations before attempting steel wool photography. Be sure to obtain any necessary permits or permissions before conducting a shoot in public or private spaces.

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