64 Pieces of Proof That the World Is Ending: It's Raining Fire

What happens when you spin steel wool in the air? You can accidentally start a forest fire. Oh, and the photos turn out amazingly!


Winner - Waiting Out the Storm

I've been wanting to take a photo like this with raining sparks for awhile now. Originally I had planned on using some 4th of July sparklers and doing it light-painting-style, but this steel wool technique turned out way better! I had my friend, Robyn, positioned on top of the wall in the background, waving our flaming whisk-on-a-stick, while I and our model, Veronica, hid under the umbrella—which is actually a photo umbrella, as you can tell by the nice bounce it gave the flash that was positioned behind us. It turns out that photo umbrellas aren't so good for protection though, because I ended up burning a button-sized hole into the shoulder of my shirt.
- Angelico Tolentino

Hamster Ball

3rd time is the charm I guess... I tried getting out to shoot on Friday and Saturday and both times I was unsuccessful. Sunday however, I was able to spend 45 minutes in the backyard just after dusk. I tried this over the summer after reading about it online, so I already had all the necessary ingredients to play with the molten steel wool. I used a piece of rope, tied to a whisk, and lit the steel wool with a lighter. I took some other great shots deep in the woods, and I even used a speedlight to light behind a tree. Once I had the shot set up, I had my Dad release the shutter. He was really excited to assist being a former pro photographer and Kodak retiree. I used Aperture to apply the stock Toy Camera preset. Canon EOS Rebel T3i, Tamron 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD, Canon Remote Switch, Sunpak tripod ISO 100, f/4, 5 Seconds
- Brendan Dence


Stroll in the Rain

I had such a blast with this challenge. At first I was a little nervous but I was soon relaxed once we got going. My friend Katrina gladly stood under the sparks to create this photo and I'm so happy she did because I thought It came out great. I shot this with my Canon T3i, focal length was 58mm, an exposure of 30 sec at F-8 and an ISO of 100.
- Tracy Miller


Stage Lights

After following these Gizmodo Shooting Challenges for many weeks I finally decided to get on board with this latest challenge. I told some friends about it and with skepticism got them on board. We first began experimenting the technique under bridges and hidden parking lots to avoid run-ins with the police. Around midnight we snuck into the park and hurried to capture a few pictures in the Gene Harris Band Shell. Overall it was a fun assignment. However we did have one casualty... a glove that had a hot ember land on it and burn through it rather quickly before I could stomp it out. Equipment: Nikon D90, Tokina 11-16mm. Settings: f/8, 20 sec., ISO 200, 14mm focal length.
-Tim Welch



I've wanted to do the steel wool experiment for a while now, and this gave me the excuse I needed. I ran to the hardware store, then realized I didn't know exactly what I needed. After looking online (smartphones!), I picked up some chain, a clasp, whisk, and steel wool (0000). The shot is off of my deck into a clearing past my back yard. I used a glow stick to mark a spot in the field, and then focused on it. This helped me focus in the dark, and gave me a consistent place to stand. Of course my remote trigger wasn't working, so my fiance had to come out and press the shutter. I had a 10 second delay set for two reasons: it avoids shake - and when I saw it start counting down (blinking), I would light the wool (butane lighter). I swung the steel wool in a circle in front of me, then slowly turned in place to make a sphere. This is a 100% crop of the result. I shot it in RAW, and adjusted the contrast and did a little recovery of the highlights, but it is otherwise it is as-shot. Camera: Canon T2i with a Sigma 18-50 mm, f/2.8-4.5 lens. The camera settings were: 18mm focal length, shutter speed 30", f.5.0, ISO 200, shot in RAW
- Matthew Malnati


Relaxing Night on the Porch

Spinning wool in the backyard, hitting the wall and steps below and the (wet) plant. The bouncing and scattering of the wool was what we were looking for in this shot. Canon 450D, iso 200, shutter 20s, f/22
- Lane Carlson


Purple Rain

I did this challenge with a group of people and I will admit that I was afraid of doing the actual spinning. Even taking the picture, I setup my camera, put it on a two second timer, then once I started to take the picture I would run back for cover, thankfully I wasn't teased about it. Despite the fear of setting myself on fire or whacking myself with the cable and letting that get in the way of volunteering to do the actual spinning, it was a fun challenge. A big "thank you" to the other members in the group who did the spinning. I picked this picture to submit because it was different than the typical circle that you get (and because it received the most views on my flickr account -NuBPix- ). I also obviously changed the colors tones in Lightroom to make it even more unique. This image was shot with a Nikon D3100 using the kit lens with a focal length of 18mm. I did a 30 second exposure at f/9 and the ISO was 200.
- Katrina Giusti


A Most Generous Pour

I broke the bottom off the wine bottle and stuck a piece of metal duct in to give it a longer "combustion chamber", and that whole mess was held up by a bike stand. I would trigger the shutter, light the steel wool in the duct and then use a blow dryer to blow some sparks down through the bottle and into the wine glass. This was all done in my garage at night, where the temperature was maybe 35 degrees. Camera: Olympus E-500, F/11, 20 second exposure, ISO 200
- Adam Marksteiner


The Incident In the Krog Street Tunnel

I came up with the idea to choose the Krog street tunnel becuase I'd always been facinated by the amount of graffiti and the location. It is located just underneath a MARTA rail in a slightly more run down area of town with higher crime etc. I started out shooting on the sidewalks in the tunnel but wasn't getting enough of the scene captured, so my friend and I moved to the center of the tunnel in the midst of traffic. We then tried our best to time the shots in beween waves of cars getting let through by the streetlights beyond. With this particular shot we had about 20 seconds to spin the sparks with no traffic. You can see that there are some headlights at the end of the tunnel however! A car started to drive our way so we quickly lept out of the way, put the lens cap on, left before the cops showed up.
- Landon Gennetten



On a cold and rainy Austin, TX night, we set up shop under the railroad tracks near the local chip and putt golf course. I had a friend bring down a studio flash that we gelled a dark blue and fired first shutter for this supposed "practice shot." The tunnel had a relatively symmetrical area adjacent to this, and we later shot exposures in each without moving the camera, intending to bridge the photos for a mirror image effect. This unfortunately did not turn out as well as intended. There is a link to that photo here: http://imgur.com/0msZY


While admittedly not a very complicated or imaginative spin, I feel that this photo succeeds due to the nearly unedited gradient caused by the blending of the orange from the wool and the blue of the light, mixing into a really beautiful shade of purple. Coupled with some very interesting reflections off the freezing cold water, I am pretty happy with this shot regardless of how long it took to feel my toes again. 5D Mkii
24-70 f2.8 @ 35mm/f11, 100 ISO, 12.00 Seconds
- Elliott Decker

Your entries this week were phenomenal—especially those that found a way to build the effect into environmental context. Find the full galleries below and the wallpaper shots on flickr.


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