I had some questions from my last post, so I thought I would explain in detail. A friend, Steve Dondero, gave me some pointers on the technique, and I have since been experimenting a lot. For starters you need an egg whisk, a 3 foot chain or cord attached to the egg whisk, a lighter and ‘0000’ size steel wool. You can buy everything you need at Walmart for about 10 bucks. Steel wool comes in a variety of sizes, but the small ‘0000’ works really well.
You start by pulling the steel wool apart and stuffing it into the egg whisk. Next, you attached your cord via a small carabiner to the egg whisk. Now you are ready to light it on fire, and start spinning. The faster you spin, the brighter and further the sparks fly. For exposure at night, I shoot at 20 seconds, ISO 100 at F5.6. You will need a tripod to keep your camera steady. One big note of caution; the flying sparks can not only catch your surroundings on fire, but also your model. We have been shooting in snowy fields to minimize any fire hazard.
For the shot at top, we used an Elinchrom Ranger with a gridded square soft box to add light to the model. The light was just out of the frame on the right. Jeremiah, our model, held very still for the 15 second exposure while Cree spun the steel wool directly behind him.