Last night I had my first ever attempt at a form of light-painting called 'fire-painting'. Many of you that are keen about photography will have come across this before, but for those that haven't, it involves taking a long exposure of a burning object to accentuate the movement. In my case, it involved lighting some steel wool and spinning it around very quickly!
I will definitely be having another go at this so I may make a 'How to' video at some point, so I will be brief with my descriptions. I used an old camera strap with a metal whisk on the end and proceeded to fill the whisk with steel wool. Then, after lighting the steel wool, you spin it around very quickly and the sparks shoot through the air, causing the long light trails. For my first shot, I stood by a canal so that I could get some reflection in the water and so that I had somewhere to go if I accidentally caught on fire!
Now would be as good a time as any to state the incredibly obvious, the sparks are not as dangerous as they seem, however, they will still set things on fire if they are left unattended, so if you plan to try this yourself, please be careful! I took out my trusty assistant (Laura) and a few bottles of water in case things got out of hand! Remember to be very vigilant and not to walk away from an area without checking there are no sparks that could potentially start a fire.
For this reason, we moved to a viaduct that was pretty quiet and usefully, made completely from brick! Bricks don't catch fire easily but we still had to be mindful of parked cars and pedestrians, the latter of which did give us a few funny looks! The archway also provided a great location to emphasise the fire painting, though I am keen to try this out in the open to see how 'big' we can make it look.
I was doing the actual 'spinning' and a few obvious things to be mindful of are not setting yourself on fire (I did notice my trainers were going up at one point!). Wear a hat! That one is self explanatory and it is always best to take a friend as they can keep an eye out for any mini fires and watch you camera gear whilst the long exposure is happening. All-in-all though, I really enjoyed it and can't wait to get out and try it again. There are plenty of useful videos on Youtube that I would suggest you watch first but if you have any questions, feel free to comment below and I will answer so everyone can see. Thanks and be safe!