Get CRAZY shots with STEEL WOOL photography!!!

– (slurping noise) Mm, aah! What's up everybody? Peter McKinnon here and today, today's a special day, and let me tell you why (funky guitar music) I'm trying to get my dexterity back 'cause my hand is still, thank you for the concern, by the way, those of you who have been asking what happened

I fell off my one-wheel, as some of you know But, I've been playing with the cards to try and get some of my dexterity back So, it's working Things are looking up So today, we will be diving into the world of steel wool photography

Now, I have seen this all over the internet I've seen it on Instagram, actually, it's pretty popular on Instagram because it looks insane I've, self admitted, never done it before When Chris took me out for the first time to do some steel wool photography, I'd never done it I didn't know what to expect, I had no idea how it worked

I'd just seen these photos around on Instagram I've double tapped them myself But I really had no idea how it was physically done So I finally got the opportunity to do it Chris took me out, it was a great time

He thought this would be something you guys would really enjoy doing, and I wholeheartedly agreed So, I'm really excited for Chris to jump into the pilot seat today and lead you guys on this steel wool photography journey If you guys don't remember Chris, he's the one that took me wakesurfing (intense rock music) Super cool guy, incredible creative force If you're not following him on YouTube, he also does tutorials and cool stuff like that

He's just relaunched his channel, so links are below if you wanna check him out, recommended (heavy electronic music) And if you're not following him on Instagram already, come on! Give him some love, he's an incredible photographer But before we get into that, a quick shout-out to our sponsor for today's episode, which are the fine folks over at Squarespace If you need a website, boom! These are the guys to go to I actually just recently changed my website

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I highly recommend it If you wanna know more about that, I did a video up here that you can also check out Links in the description You're welcome Alright, enough talking for me

I'm gonna hand things over So, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, Chris Hau! – What's up, guys? My name is Chris Hau Photographer, cinematographer, business owner I run a creative agency, and I also have hair like Fabio, and I cleaned it today just for this video So, I've been shooting since I was about eight years old, but professionally, probably for like the last eight years

When Pete used to shoot weddings and it was actually my first wedding and I had this crazy homemade video rig that I made from like dollar store items I don't wanna talk about it, that was a weird time in my life But, let's get back to what we're talking about today We are talking about steel wool photography This is one of the coolest trends that you see on Instagram right now

It kind of looks like people are just like spinning fire That they have like a dragon in their hand, or something like that But, essentially what it is is that you use the material steel wool You put in this device that we're gonna show you how to make, you light it on fire and you spin it so that all the embers just kinda fly everywhere, and when you combine that within long-exposure on your camera, you get some pretty dope results Kind of like this, this, or this

So before we get into this, I have to say this 'cause it's extremely important Safety comes first You guys are playing with fire at the end of the day My first experience with this is I actually wasn't as safe as I should've been I almost lit a field on fire 'cause I was so pumped

We don't want this to happen to you I don't wanna read about you in the news about being like all these fields around the world are setting on fire because Chris Hau taught them how to use steel wool photography That's not happening today Be responsible Remember, at the end of the day, you're supposed to have fun, not get burnt

Just a reminder, if you guys are underage, just make sure you have an adult with you And if you are overage, just bring a friend along This is one of those scenarios where it's best to do it with a friend or have somebody who can be there with you to just keep an eye on stuff So, quick reminder, be safe, and we're moving on So step one, we're gonna delve into the materials that you need to actually do this

So, the basic things that you're gonna want at the end of the day is a stainless steel whisk Now, I used a whisk, oop, all the things are falling out of this I used a whisk that had plastic on it, and as you can see, it just melted it all over the place So, highly recommend for your first material a stainless steel whisk Number two, you're gonna need some sort of string, or in this case we used a cannon lanyard

(sparking noise) Or you can also use like a bathtub chain Whatever is gonna be the safest option for you at the end of the day Preferably use a material that's not gonna catch fire Okay, the second and actually the most important part of this is the steel wool Now, I would recommend that you use a thin-grade steel wool

You can find this at most local hardware stores It's actually used to clean like stainless steel or metal objects or in this image here, it looks like a baby's crib But it's probably not a baby's crib, but I would recommend that you use a thin material because it actually burns a lot quicker and brighter So, this is the steel wool when you take it out of the bag you're gonna try to grab a little strip of it that you can use You have to be really strong, like Arnold

(laughs) This is not enough But you're gonna grab a little bit more that you can use on this I'm making a mess of Pete's desk right now So, if you want some steel wool go to Pete's desk This is our device that we've made

So you're gonna attach the string to the stainless steel whisk, and to apply it you just open up a section, shove these steel wool into our whisk And when you're out on the field, you're gonna take your lighter, you're gonna light the steel wool, and once the fire starts just kind of creeping in a little bit, you're gonna start spinning it and that's what's gonna increase the brightness and all the embers are gonna start flying everywhere And when you combine that with your camera with the right settings that we're gonna talk about afterwards, you're gonna get these extremely cool results So now that we've built our steel wool device, we're gonna actually go out and take some photos now So, obviously being that this is a long exposure, you're gonna need a tripod

So, when you're on location, find the composition that you're really pumped on There's a few different ways that you can capture this You can use a self-timer to release the shutter You can have a friend along with you, and the third one is you can use the self-timer that's actually built into most cameras Now you're gonna wanna find your focus

If you're by yourself, throw a bag into the shot Where you're gonna be spinning your steel wool, get that focus and then press the self-timer Give yourself about ten seconds to run into the frame, remove the bag and start spinning your steel wool When you're done, head back to the camera to see what results that you got Quick tip and something that I like to do a lot is shoot in a really heavily concreted area

Somewhere in the city might be good, because then all the sparks fly around everywhere and sometimes they'll actually build the outlines of certain structures that you're in So let's say that you're in a bridge and you're spinning it, it'll actually outline the outside of the bridge That looks really cool I would also recommend shooting after it rains Number one, it is safer, and number two, actually creates a lot of really cool light reflections, and can actually increase the quality of your shot

So now let's talk about camera settings Grab your camera, get a wide angle lens, preferably Obviously, you want some context of where you're shooting But, use whatever lens that works for your creative tastes Some of the settings that I like to use, obviously it's always different for each location that you're in, but typically, you want to set your ISO to somewhere around 50 or 100

Your F-stop between 56 and nine, that's usually a good sweet spot, and your shutters open between 10 to 15 seconds Play around with these settings You're gonna get different exposures and different looks, but this is generally the ones that I use to get the results that I'm happy with So now comes the fun part, and the part that your mom is gonna freak out about is when you actually light the steel wool on fire

And you start spinning it around and around for the ten to fifteen seconds I could not say this enough Do not tough the steel wool after you've done spinning it and it's still glowing It is so hot, this could hurt you This could melt something

This could damage whatever you put it on So make sure you put it on a surface that can withstand that heat and let it cool down before you go back to doing your next shot So, Pete and I went out the other night to actually go out and try this He was actually pretty blown away by some of the results that we were getting One thing he mentioned, and one thing that a lot of people always make a comment about, is not this crazy like fire spinning thing, it just looks like a bunch of little tiny embers flying everywhere, but when you combine that with your camera, that's when you're actually getting the really cool results

So, let's take one of the photos that we took that day when I climbed on top of a tractor and let's bring that into Lightroom Now, as you can see, this looks pretty wild, but it's fairly dark So one thing that I like to do is I just like to start by pressing the Auto button over here Let's see how that image looks Not too bad, we can bring the exposure down just a touch

Now as you can see in this section down here by the tractor kind of looks kind of ugly So, we're gonna crop that stuff out Boom, that looks a little bit better Alright, let's change the white balance a touch I think this could look better if it was cooler, so let's bring it down in the blues a bit more

That's not looking too bad Alright, let's start playing with some of our different faders and sliders over here Bring the shadows up just maybe a touch Bring the blacks down Now, one thing that I always like is to boost the clarity

So let's boost the clarity up here Around 25, that's lookin' pretty good Now, let's go down to our tone curve I like to use the Lights section a lot in most of my photos and it kind of works here, too I'll boost the light up here

Kind of bring the darks down just a touch That's a little too dramatic It's not lookin' too bad there Again, this is just my workflow It is a creative field, so do what works best for you

They're some of the tips and tricks that I use to just get a photo that I think looks good Moving along, we're gonna go to our Adjustment Brush, shortcut key is K We're gonna go down to Lighten, I'm just gonna lighten this section here, bring a little bit more attention to this area Now we're gonna go to our Gradient, shortcut key is M We're gonna go to Darken

Just darken the ground there to bring a little bit more backed that And we're gonna head down to our HSL area here Bring the luminance value up on our yellow-orange section, I think that's looking good, maybe take the saturation down just a touch I'm gonna bring the exposure up just a little bit more and we're gonna bring our tension by going to the Radial Filter, and we're gonna darken around the outside So I'll switch that to Lighten

That looks pretty good That's just a very basic edit So, spend a little bit more time to get the results that you're pumped on Not that great That one looks awesome

So, that's a quick little tutorial on how to edit your steel wool photography photos When I first discovered steel wool photography, I was kind of in a rut, and I would see all these photos on Instagram and I was like, "How are these guys doing it?" So, I went out and taught myself and it kind of like reignited my passion for photography (click) Pun intended, right guys? So, hopefully this does the same for you I hope you learn something So, a big thank you for your time today

Fun little fact is I actually started posting to my YouTube channel again regularly, and I think that's it for now I don't really have like an ending thing So, I guess over to Pete What, what, what do I do now? Back to Pete in weather! – Sometimes breaking out of that comfort zone and exploring the unknown, especially with an art form like photography, can be just extremely exhilarating And as Chris said, it's like a reinvigoration of the passion that you loved so much

So sometimes if things are feeling a little bit like, I'm a bit bored or I'm tired of portraits, going out and shooting star trails or steel wool photography and just mixing it up and stepping into a zone that you are completely unfamiliar with That is a great way to get the ball rolling again So, long way of saying I hope you enjoyed it Definitely go try it out Hit that Like button if you liked this video and smash if you so desire

I won't hold it against you Subscribe if you aren't already And, and (zooming sound) these are coming soon See you in the next video (gentle jazz music)

Source: Youtube