Flaming Steel Wool Photography with Tom Keller

We love our Instagram community and wanted to spotlight the work of Tom Keller who’s been doing some really cool things with steel wool, his camera, and lighter! So here’s Tom’s images and what he has to say about them. Enjoy!

I first came across a picture of steel wool on Instagram. I’ve never seen this
before and was very intrigued by it. After doing some research my Fiancée Marissa and I
went out and got the necessities. We experimented in our back yard that night but
quickly got the hang of it and ventured out into the nearby neighborhoods. Places like
parks, bridges, rivers, and train yards offer interesting backgrounds and features to
photograph with. It’s usually j ust the two of us with one spinning while the other sets the
timer and possess.

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The spinning vortex is one of the first pictures that Marissa and I shot in the backyard. I
started spinning at the back of our yard and randomly decided to walk towards the
camera while spinning. This became one of many successful experiments.

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After a couple weeks of experimenting with steel wool my fiancé and I started getting
creative. We came up with the idea of using an umbrella to get a force field effect
creating this image under a bridge here in Sacramento; “Protector of Art.”

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The exposures we use are between 15-20 seconds long and it can be tricky posing still
for that long. In this colorful picture done in my backyard, you can see that I shifted
positions while spinning causing a partial ghost effect but my fiancé did great.

004

Spinning orbs are amazing; it’s like an explosion of sparks! The way to spin an orb is to
find a set point on the ground (like a leaf or rock) and spin slowly around it with the
bottom of your spin hitting the top of that point. We found this Underpass interesting and
did a lot of experimenting here.

005

This silhouette shot was taken in a large storm tunnel in Houston Texas. I posed while
Marissa (my partner in life and in late night shenanigans) spun behind me creating the
silhouette and flaming water effect. We both got soaked this night, but getting down and
dirty is all part of the fun.

006

I always carry my GR1 Ruck from GoRuck and Canon EOS Rebel T2i with a Sigma 10-
20mm lens. After a lot of trial and error throughout the months, I developed a plywood
cut out that mounts 12 spinners and fits perfectly in my Ruck. This makes for an easy
“reload,” to cut down wasted time during the night. The actual “spinners” are made up of
an ordinary wire cooking whisk stuffed with 0000-000 gauge steel wool tied on a long
rope. A few other musts are a tri-pod, headlamps (not only to see but to focus the
camera) and lighters. Also, be sure to only spin after rains, during the winter months, or
near large bodies of water to prevent possible fires.

007

This over head spin was done alone in Lake Tahoe, CA. I learned from this experience
that the mechanics of this photography works much better with a partner. For this
picture I had my headlamp positioned facing the rocks to get a little more color from
them.

The Steelwool Photography community is still small but very innovative and filled
with great artist. Marissa and I have come up with many new ideas using the various
techniques we’ve developed so far and can’t wait to experiment with them this summer
in new adventurous places.

-Tom Keller, TK Photography

To keep up with Tom and his fiery shenanigans:
Follow him on Facebook
Follow him on Instagram: @tomkellerphotography
Send him an email: Tommokeller@gmail.com

For a cool tutorial on steel wool photography from our friends at Photojojo, Click Here!

Become a part of out Instagram community by following @tamracphoto right now!

All You Need In Two Tamrac Bags

Here’s a blog post we’re reposting from our friend Chadwick Trentham. Check out what he has to say about reducing his load from 5 bags to just 2. We like making life easier, and we’re pretty good at it.

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I received two new bags from Tamrac last week and decided to put them to the test for a series of small productions I’ve been working on recently. UnpackingThough smaller in scope, each shoot requires many accessories, including multiple cameras, mics, and more. And of course, the location is often far from my car. I’m typically carrying four or five bags of various sizes, by myself. Unpacking+2So I turned to Tamrac to find an easier solution. They previously helped me find a great bag, the Tamrac Evolution 9, to use on an 11 day back packing trip.
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For my current productions, I was searching for a two-bag solution with wheels and the capacity to fit my kit. APU_9657I usually bring two cameras, lenses, mics, two tripods, a slider, and a light kit. With that in mind, Tamrac recommended the Big Wheels Speed Roller 2x for cameras, and the Medium Rolling Studio for gear. APU_9637The best part is I can use them when I travel. The Big Wheels Speed Roller 2x falls within carry-on guidelines, which would make it a breeze to use when flying.
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Packing has never been simpler. These bags are easy to rearrange, and the dividers have great padding while remaining sturdy. APU_9693The Speed Roller includes numerous pockets for small items, a laptop pocket, and straps that hold the top upright so the door doesn’t flop onto the ground when you’re trying to access things quickly. APU_9676The Rolling Studio feels really sturdy, and is well padded in case you need to check gear when traveling. My favorite feature is the top pocket: it’s large and I used it to store fast flags and a reflector for quick access.
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Overall, I would recommend these bags for anyone looking to simplify their productions. Tamrac has always been my go-to for protecting my gear. I’m looking forward to testing them further on my next production.

Chadwick Trentham
Visual Storyteller
Azusa Pacific University
Los Angeles, California

Click here to see original post.

Aero Speed Pack 75 vs. Army Fuel Truck

As I’ve said before, we love hearing about how our bags help keep your gear safe in the most unforeseen circumstances; like when your Honda Pilot gets tangled up with an army fuel truck and your camera gear is thrown from the car through a shattered rear window at highway speed as your roll end over end. Thankfully no one was seriously injured in the accident, but what about the camera gear? Read on to find out!

I’ve owned this backpack for two years and have always been very happy with it. Recently I’ve become even happier.

On August 17, 2012, my family and I were heading from Portage Michigan to Madison Wisconsin to attend a wedding. Early in our trip my wife, who was driving, pulled into the left lane of the highway to pass an Army tractor-trailer fuel tanker. As we were passing, the driver of the tanker made a sharp left turn into our lane. My wife swerved left in an attempt to miss the truck, but it didn’t work: the right front of our vehicle hit the front of the truck. According to witnesses, we went airborne and rolled four times before we stopped. We were stunned and bruised, but okay.

Car Accident 1

The Honda Pilot minutes after the accident.

After we got out of the car, and got some semblance of understanding for what had happened, I began looking at the trail of debris our car had left on the highway. My heart sank when I saw my backpack sitting in the median. It had been behind the rear seats of our Honda Pilot. It must have been tossed out of the rear (shattered) window. I had my Nikon D700, several lenses, a flash, and a portable hard drive in it. I feared for the worst but, when I opened it and began to look around I saw all the items were unscathed. I used the camera to take a few quick shots of the accident, and everything functioned perfectly.

Car Accident 2

Here you can see the army fuel truck and the shattered rear window of the Honda Pilot through which Lee’s Speed Pack 75 took flight.

So I commend you, and thank you, for building such a quality product. I’ve told several people about this, and will continue to sing your company’s praises. I thought you should know too.

Lee D. W.

 

Thanks so much, Lee, for sending in your story along with the pictures to illustrate it! If any of you readers have a similar story, feel free to send it to us!

For more information on the Aero Speed Pack 85, check it out here: http://www.tamrac.com/3375.htm