How to Create and Photograph Spiral Sparks




About: Mechanical Engineer,

Create fascinating images with a little steel wool and a Single Lens Reflex Camera

Step 1: Let You Imagination Go Wild

Create fascinating spiral sparks with easy to obtain items. This Instructable will show you how to create and photograph beautiful spiral sparks. Other names: Flaming twisters, Sparking cyclones, others?

Step 2: Gather Equipment

To create your spiral sparks you will need:

• - an all metal whisk
• - 3 feet of braided twine
• - An igniter
• - Steel wool (0000 works)
• - A DSLR camera or a camera with manual modes
• - Tripod
• - Wireless remote trigger or an assistant
• - Clothing: dark clothes and a cap

Step 3: Find a Location

It is best to do this in the snow or after a heavy rain. Wear cloths to cover your arm, legs. Wear a hat. The best time to shoot is an hour or two after sunset so there is still some color in the sky. Set up your camera on a tripod and compose your shot. Since you don't want your camera to search on what to focus on, set the camera in manual focus mode and pre-focus on the spot where you will be standing. Set the exposure mode for Manual Mode also. Set the exposure so it will be under exposed a few stops without the spiral sparks. Set the ISO and aperture so your exposure will be between 4 and 15 seconds.

Step 4: Go for It

Put some steel wool in the whisk and 'fluff' it up. Take your position on your focus spot. Ignite the steel wool toward the twine end. Start spinning the whisk by the twine. When the sparks start peaking, trip the camera with the remote or via your assistant. Depending on the exposure time, you may get 2 photographs per session.

Step 5: Review Image and Adjust As Necessary.

Make sure all the sparks are extinguished. Review your photo and adjust shutter speed or aperture as necessary. Reload the whisk and repeat.

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    6 Discussions

    Flos Workshop

    2 years ago

    you could use the bulb mode on the dslr

    Eric Brouwer

    2 years ago

    This is awesome. Thank you for sharing.
    I will put this to the test.

    kjo789Max Cordell7

    Reply 2 years ago

    awesome....I 'd love your vote in the photography contest!