STE P BY STE P
Playing with fire
Don’t rush this process, and put safety before anything else
01 Spark in the dark
During the daytime, the sun will be too bright for the trails to show up. Wait until dusk or, better yet, night time, then find a location without too much ambient light from things like street lights; that way your fire will stand out in the darkness.
02 Woolly thinking
Take your steel wool and tease it apart, then push it between the gaps in the metal whisk. Teased wool burns more easily and evenly. Attach the rope securely to the whisk; you don’t want it flying off and injuring someone.
03 Ready, steady…
To capture trails of flying embers against a sharp background, you’ll need to set a small aperture and a long shutter speed, so a tripod is vital. Get your composition sorted first, before you light the wire wool, taking a few test shots if needed.
04 Go long
For our shot, we set an aperture of f/16 in manual mode to keep the sparks and the tunnel in focus. We then experimented with shutter speed, and found that 10 secs was long enough to record a circular trail, and expose the image correctly.
05 Do it yourself
Use your Nikon’s self-timer if you’re doing the spinning yourself – 10 seconds will give you time to get in front of the camera. Alternatively, get a friend to use a remote release to fire off the shots, or have them spin while you operate the camera.
06 Spin wool into gold
Set the wool ablaze and spin it around you; you can spin it in any direction, but for that classic fiery circle look, spin it perpendicular to the camera. We noticed little ‘splashes’ of fire as the flying wool hit the tunnel walls.