Fat Bikes + Spinning Steel Wool = Amazing Photos

With the days getting shorter and the temperature dropping we thought it would be fitting to post a "better late than never" recap of a frozen photo shoot we did this last winter.

Earlier in the year, on a cold and clear Wisconsin night, a few of us headed out to the frozen Milwaukee river with a collection of items that would definitely make a cop call for backup. With us were 3 of our new carbon fiber Blackhawk fat bikes, a bunch of steel wool, a few whisks, some chain, a 9V battery, a DSLR camera and tripod.

We had done a few test runs with varying degrees of success and been planning this night time photo shoot for a while. After dialing in our camera settings over a few nights, and mastering how to reliably and safely ignite steel wool, a full moon fresh snow and the frozen river provided the perfect conditions for the shoot. Our cohort Ryan was the photographic talent behind this operation and he'd recently been practicing this night time photo technique that he knew would be perfect for photographing our new fat bike.

Ryan played with exposure times from 8-30s and front lit the bike using strobes to highlight the Blackhawk. There is some experimentation involved based on how lit up you want the subject and background, but most iterations led to varying terrific effects. 

Once everything was set up we wrapped the steel wool around the whisk and tied it up to the chain and took a few practice swings. Now I don't know if you've ever lit steel wool on fire before but it definitely burns like crazy. It will burn through synthetic clothing and safety glass are a must! Once lit we grabbed the chain with the whisk/steel wool tied to one end and we started spinning. Sparks flew all around the river and it's a good thing we were out in the middle of the ice and snow because it definitely burns hot.   

Once the steel wool burnt out we ran over to the camera to see what we had captured. Here's a little taste...



1 Comment

Tammy V
Tammy V

October 23, 2015

Cool photos. Great way to play on the river.

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