4th September 2014 - Now that the evenings are starting to draw in we felt it was time to kick off the night photography season by taking a stroll around Sheffield city centre on a Thursday evening. The idea was to get us all back into the swing of long exposure and light trails.
Here are some of the photos we came home with:
DSC_0347 by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0345b by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0345a by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0345 by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0337 by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0335 by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0332 by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0328 by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0325 by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0322 by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0319 by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0312 by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0306 by Ray Snell, on Flickr
DSC_0305 by Ray Snell, on Flickr
July 2014 - Despite a chilly and slightly rainy start to the morning we had a very successful trek through the slightly tricky footing of Wyming Brook. Spectacular scenery and stunning water flowing through the brook were the rewards on offer.
Here are a few of the snaps...
9th April 2014 - Now that spring is here and the evenings are becoming more mild we decided to spend a few hours at the top of the amphitheatre behind the Sheffield train station to watch the sun go down over the city. Sadly we never saw the sun thanks to all the cloud cover but we still managed to get some good shots of Sheffield at night.
Here's my time-lapse video. 500+ photos over 2 hours condensed into 16 seconds.
September 2013 - For our September outing we once again returned to nature after a long stint covering urban landscapes. We had originally intended to go to Padley Gorge but we never got that far, so here are some of our snaps from our walk from the Longshaw Estate visitor centre to Burbage Brook.
So you want to have a go at wire-wool spinning?
What you'll need
- Your camera
- A suitable lens (something wide probably)
- Remote shutter (not essential but definitely preferable)
It may also be worth considering a filter to protect the glass on the lens if you intend to get close to the action
- Plenty of wire wool, 'fine' works best
- A metal chain for spinning - dog leads work well
- Something to attach the wool to the chain - either a metal whisk or a large bulldog clip works
- A couple of well-fuelled lighters
Clothing & Safety Equipment
Hot sparks will fly so you will want to cover up; long sleeves and a hood or hat are advisable. IJWTGP branded hoodies are ideal, buy one here.
A powerful torch for safely moving around in the dark and to illuminate your focus points prior to spinning.
A fire extinguisher is recommended.
Choosing your location
Whilst spinning burning wire wool on the end of a long chain is not in itself illegal you need to choose your location carefully. Smouldering chunks will be distributed far and wide so any wood, paper or trees nearby could potentially catch fire. Ideally you want to be in an urban environment, remote and self-contained.
Be mindful of who might be around as it may appear threatening to outsiders who may feel inclined to call the police if they think you are up to no good, especially in large groups.
Spinning and Shooting
Firstly, set up the camera. Position the camera on the tripod where you want it, shine your torch in the area you will be spinning and compose and focus accordingly. Once you have set up your shot switch to manual focus so the camera won't try to re-focus in the dark, then either set your timer to a long exposure or enable 'bulb' mode if you intend to hold the shutter open for the duration of the spin.
Once the camera is set up and ready to go you will need to stand in the spinning position and light the wool. It might be worth doing a few practice swings before lighting so that you can make sure you won't be hitting any walls, ceilings or yourself. When ready light the wool and start spinning- don't expect a huge flame from the wool as it really only smoulders at best, spin until the flame dies out, trying to keep your body as still as possible throughout to avoid 'ghosting', unless that is what you want in your picture. When finished spinning check the vicinity immediately for any chunks that are still alight and extinguish them quickly.
If you have timed the exposure correctly you should see plenty of sparks flying in all directions. Try getting creative by using different locations, bouncing sparks, spinning in different directions and using props and costumes.
This behind the scenes video footage of a recent spinning session will help to give you an idea of what the spinning will look like whilst you're doing it, and the photos scattered about this article should give an idea of the expected results.
Credit for much of the advice and content must go to the contributors of this forum thread.