Tips for “Steel Wool Photography”

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Written By AndrewPerry

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Similar photos can be taken by learning the techniques of steel wool photography. This article will explain the basics of steel wool photography, including the camera setup and safety precautions.

A bundle of fine, flexible, sharp-edged steel bars is called wire wool. Steel wool is used by jewellers, metal craftsmen and woodworkers to smoothen and clean their work surfaces. It can be used to polish metal and wood objects, as well as clean windows and cookware. Steel wool can be purchased at hardware and home improvement stores.

Steel wool and long exposure are two of the best tools for photography. Your camera captures the light streaks and sparks created by the spinning of the burning material.

This technique doesn’t require expensive gear or expensive equipment, which is great news to many photographers.

What equipment do you need ?

Here’s a list of things you will need to photograph steel wool:

  1. Camera and lens
  2. A tripod with shutter release cable and a sturdy tripod
  3. A dark location;
  4. Steel wool;
  5. String;
  6. Stainless steel whisk (DONT use silicon);
  7. Safety equipment and protective gloves
  8. Lighter;
  9. Optional: A friend to help.

Take Care of Your Lens and Camera For Steel Wool Photography

Similar to other light painting photography techniques, the steel wool technique does not require a high-end camera or lens. You only need a camera with manual mode that can be set up and a lens you like.

Wide-angle lenses are my preferred choice as they allow me to capture photos that are closer and more individual. A fisheye lens could be used to combine light painting and the barrel distortion caused by the lens.

Your photos’ mood can be affected by the focal length and lens. Remember to keep your camera away from any steel wool sparks.

You should choose a focal length that captures the entire scene. You will need to move around a lot if the focal length is too long.

If you plan to use your camera near the flamed steel wool, put a protective filter on it. It is possible to cause fire stretching from the heat, which can be costly to repair.