Contest Entry: Burning Steel Wool

Dave, Jono, and Braden are some fun lads from Australia who like to sling around burning metal during their photoshoots. Luckily for our readers they decided to participate in the behind the scenes video contest and show everyone how they too can get this wild effect. Check out this interesting video and feel free to leave comments for the guys below!

Log in or register to post comments


Nice effect. One technical error though. You don't have to open up the aperture to gain focus in the dark (unless using live view). The camera doesn't stop it down until right before flipping the mirror up. Lighting the subject alone is enough to focus on.

Kasper Løftgaard's picture

Exactly. The aperture is always fully opened when usin autofocus, and since the mirror is blocking the sensor while focusing (unless using liveview of course) it doesn't help increasing the ISO. I'm not quite sure whether it helps in liveview?!

David Page's picture

Hi Sam, thanks for the comment. Actually because we are shooting in the dark and at a distance, using liveview is the only way we can get sharp focus. That's why we've suggested doing it that way as using the viewfinder is next to impossible in this scenario.

Dave, just get nice powerful flashlight (one used for camping trips) and put it really close to the part you want to focus on. Then get the camera to focus on that (no live view).

Those last couple of shots were outstanding! great shoot :)

I don't think they mentioned about the fire hazards of flinging burning sparks around! Please be carful.

David Page's picture

Actually it's a bit more complex then that. Due to the dark and the distance, the viewfinder isn't an option so we are using manual focus and zooming into the liveview to gain focus. For manual focus in this circumstance even a very powerful torch fails to light enough to gain focus (trust me - we've tried).
It's not a technical error - just how we have to do it because of the situation.

I'd just like to say how amazing I think the end result turned out and what an incredible idea that was! Congrats guys, I hope you'll win the contest!! :-)

Who cares how he does it as long as he is satisfied with the end result!

I know I am more than satisfied... love it!

So Dave, Jono, and Braden keep doin what your doin because it is Amazing art and you just inspired me to give a shot at it this weekend. thanks. where to you post your final photo at? flickr? smugmug?

Not to sure about that stripy hoody thought...? ;)
Ever get that stuff in your eyes?

Excellent video, cool results!

How does the steel wool burn ? Are those cold or hot sparks ? Was there any worry to setting the whole place on fire or suffering minor burns ?

Epic vid guys!

Thanks for the video. Lots of great ideas. I especially loved the skateboard track. I'll be using that for sure!

hey guys thanks for the comments.
firstly in reply to
Mister Ian. in the other posting of this vid on the forum page i did actually address the fire risks. obviously i need to do so again. in the numerous times we have been doing this type of photo shoot we have only managed to set fire to a small clump of dry grass. this was easily stooped with a swift stomp of the foot. at first i was worried that we would have lots of fires. but the more we have done it i released that you need to keep an eye out but it is not a huge risk. the steel wool is a cool burn so by the time the sparks have hit the ground they do not have enough heat to do much harm.
the time the small clump of grass did catch fire was when i did not tie the steel wool on properly and the entire clump flew off.

secondly in reply to
Bwyan. what's wrong with my hoody remember we are Aussies lol
if you read the forum post that also has been addressed. i have only had one piece go down my back. when in the middle all sparks go away from you. no problem. but if you are doing it with more than one person as we have done in a previous shoot it is best to keep your eyes shut or ware safety glasses. , safety precautions should be taken at all times.

the sparks are hot ehough to give you a bit of a sting. but mostly just bounce off.

WOW! That is really cool. The pictures are amazing and the camera effects add to the visuals. Great techniques guys, it looks fantastic.

Amazing video, well filmed and very informative! In addition, the final pictures are great and made me a little (to say the least) jealous. Want to try it now!

Wow, I loved it!! Thank you guys for sharing this, I think I'll try it...

Mike Macdonald's picture

A genius idea! I'm definitely going to have a go at that!