Mike Washington  

Playing With Fire by Mike Washington

November 2019 - Playing With Fire

About the Image(s)

Playing with fire can be fun under certain conditions. A small group of photographers from a local photo club ventured out to a rural farm, at sunset, with a pond and pier, to do some light painting. Steel wool soaked in gas, placed in a whisk with a tether to swing about, Is a popular and fun technique with interesting results. For safety, it's best done in areas not prone to ignition fires (i.e. California). We just had torrential rain the day before and the area was still well saturated. We also did it over a pond for the reflections. The steel wool does not catch fire, but rather burns at a glow. the centrifugal force of swinging the caged steel wool throws off sparks.

The slow shutter speed of 20-30 seconds gives the illusion it is much more incendiary than it actually is. In reality, the fire goes out after about 10 seconds. I chose this shot at twilight to incorporate the surroundings for a sense of place and scale. We continued this activity until well after dark with other multicolored illuminated devices. Glow sticks, light sabers, Christmas lights were employed with various degrees of effect.

Interesting note: with the mirroring of the pond, the shots of the steel wool photos after dark , when rotated 90, while processing, make interesting mask like faces.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
4 comments posted

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Hey, Mike. Yeah, this is a really cool photograph! Brilliant use of camera dynamics to capture this colorful abstracts of sorts. Great capture!

Now , I am going to be a bit extra critical this time around: as it relates to "setting the stage" as it were, and that may seem counter to my usual "straight" approach, but for such an interesting and maybe a rare chance to shoot this scene again, I would have asked the home owner to move the car before things got stated.

Yes, I hear you - but I am using your photography as an example for Thinking About the space surrounding a photo-shot. Just, Food for Thought. :)   Posted: 11/09/2019 16:13:01

Jennifer Marano   Jennifer Marano
What a fun and interesting technique! The sparks, in particular, give it an interesting asymmetry, while the reflection gives it symmetry - a very fascinating balance. I see what Lance means about the car, but I have to admit I didn't even notice it until I read his comment.   Posted: 11/09/2019 21:01:36

Graham Jones   Graham Jones
I have done this before on a beach but did not have the results you accomplished. The reflection really makes the shot interesting. Great job   Posted: 11/10/2019 10:06:05

Betty Billingham   Betty Billingham
(Groups 20 & 54)
Well done! A super image.   Posted: 11/17/2019 07:49:00