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Picture Perfect Share your photography tips, techniques and prize captures here.

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Old 03-20-2017, 07:32pm   #1
TripleBlack
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Default Skyline photo with a little pyro added

Was invited to a photography meetup over the weekend to shoot the Dallas skyline from a location I'd not done yet. Not the best location and wasn't too pleased with shots I was getting. Then a guy brought out a "steel wool spinner" and while the photo isn't great it was a lot of fun.

There's been some deservedly bad press about careless folk setting fires with these things... wet and muddy here - guy's hair caught on fire a little once but that was all.

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Old 03-25-2017, 08:32am   #2
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Old 03-25-2017, 07:08pm   #3
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I've heard about these spinner things before and wondered how they work.
How do they work?

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guy's hair caught on fire a little once
I shouldn't laugh but,,,,
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:15pm   #4
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I've heard about these spinner things before and wondered how they work.
How do they work?


I shouldn't laugh but,,,,
The most common method and the one the hair on fire guy used is to attach a chain or cord to a wire whisk and stuff it with fine steel wool. You can easily light the steel wool with a lighter or even better with a crack pipe torch which of course we used. Once lit, you just spin the whisk on the end of the chain. The extra oxygen flow from the spinning is like adding gasoline... the sparks go crazy.

I was shooting 25-30 second exposures which worked well - the whisk would burn out in a few seconds less than that.

There was another guy there with an amazing device called a Pixelstick. Google it and check some of the amazing things it does. This is a 30 second exposure where the guy used a simple color changing pattern to "paint". The device is a computer controlled array of LEDs. It can be programmed to display almost anything, including fairly realistic representations of jpgs, etc.

Oh, hair actually on fire may be a alight exaggeration but he did catch a few live sparks in his hair. Fortunately he uses water based styling products so damage was minimal.

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Old 03-26-2017, 12:28am   #5
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very cool, indeed
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Old 03-26-2017, 10:45am   #6
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LOVE this one.
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Old 03-26-2017, 06:44pm   #7
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LOVE this one.
Definitely something different. I'm probably going to do a DIY version of the pixelstick, either with a Raspberry Pi or Aurdino controller. They are between three and four hundred bux... Don't want one that bad. May cheap out even more and just do a very simple version.

Check this guy's page. These were done (I think) with just a colored plastic protector tube used for florescent lights with a cheap LED flashlight stuck in each end. You can make one for less than $20.

Signs Of Light shows the awesome photos you can create with just a light and a tube - DIY Photography
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