Wild and Wooly Photography

I hadn't played with the spinning/burning steel wool trick in a couple of years, so Robert and I made it happen.
I hadn’t played with the spinning/burning steel wool trick in a couple of years, so Robert and I made it happen.
Robert gets tangles in a web of leashes and camera straps as we walk Hawken the Irish Wolfhound.
Robert gets tangles in a web of leashes and camera straps as we walk Hawken the Irish Wolfhound.

Abby and I hadn’t seen Robert Stinson in a while, so we were glad to hear that while he was visiting his family in the Tulsa area, he was able to make time to come down to our little green patch, catch up, and, of course, do some photography.

We ran to town to get lunch for Abby, and stopped on the way to photograph a puddle, because that’s who we are when we hang out.

Robert photographs a puddle on Dog House Road.
Robert photographs a puddle on Dog House Road.

Robert hadn’t met either Summer the new Chihuahua or Hawken the Irish Wolfhound. I let Robert walk Hawken for some of our walking route, and Hawken seemed perfectly happy to be with us and mind Robert. Robert made some very nice photos of me with the Wolfhound.

At one point, Hawken decided to bowl me over and slobber all over me, which was hysterical fun. Robert captured this moment nicely.
At one point, Hawken decided to bowl me over and slobber all over me, which was hysterical fun. Robert captured this moment nicely.
Hawken and I pose for Robert's camera.
Hawken and I pose for Robert’s camera.
Hawken and I pose in a spot of late afternoon light above the pond. I have to say, he is a damn gorgeous animal, and a great pet and friend.
Hawken and I pose in a spot of late afternoon light above the pond. I have to say, he is a damn gorgeous animal, and a great pet and friend.
When photographers get together, there will always be cameras. This is Robert's Nikon D300.
When photographers get together, there will always be cameras. This is Robert’s Nikon D300.

By nightfall we decided to photograph either fireworks or burning steel wool, and ended up trying both, with more impressive results with the steel wool method. I described it on my teaching site two years ago (link), but the short version is to put fine-gauge steel wool in a whisk, set it on fire, and spin it so it throws off sparks. With the shutter open and with some finessing of settings, it’s possible to get some very fun images.

Just at dusk we saw Mars and the moon in conjunction, and I lent Robert my 200mm f/2.0 to photograph it.
Just at dusk we saw Mars and the moon in conjunction, and I lent Robert my 200mm f/2.0 to photograph it.
Fine-enough steel wool burns fiercely, especially when you fan it by spinning its container, in this case a kitchen whisk, at a high speed.
Fine-enough steel wool burns fiercely, especially when you fan it by spinning its container, in this case a kitchen whisk, at a high speed.
This is the second successful steel wool attempt. In addition to being beautiful and fun, it is an opportunity to get burning metal in your hair.
This is the second successful steel wool attempt. In addition to being beautiful and fun, it is an opportunity to get burning metal in your hair.

 

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3 Comments

  1. Fun images!

    I take it that you’re not under a burn ban? At my house, one spark from that steel wool would set the whole town ablaze…

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  2. LOL at Wil’s comment. It was my first thought too. It’s harder to “think global” than it should be. With the dryness around here, it’s difficult to remember that other places might not be so dry.

    Those are some very astounding photos!

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