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  • Jennifer Schmit

When Science and Art Collide

The beauty of science, art, and homeschool collide when students pursue their interests on their time.

Homeschool student, Michael G, is a competitive skateboarder who recently took up photography using a Nikon 35mm digital slr camera.

While researching photo techniques, or surfing the net, whatever you choose to call it, he found a series of photos that captivated his imagination and inspired him to bring together several fields of study in one, resulting in the "Steel Wool Photography" image above.

So how is steel wool photography made? The short version: it was created by burning steel wool, moving it, and using time lapse to follow the burning trail.

Long version: First, a wad of steel wool was placed into the wire of a common kitchen whisk, and a strong string was tied to the handle of the whisk. Next, with all parents supervising, a boy stood atop a skate ramp at the concrete skatepark, lit the steel wool by rubbing a battery across it, and swung the string around creating the halo effect. As the steel wool burned, chunks and chips of burning material flew outward due to centrifugal force. The time lapse caught the pathways of all the burning metal, including the bounces across the concrete floor of the skate park. The photo was taken at night.

Congratulations to Michael G, the young photographer! This photo won a 2nd Place award for color photography at the Orange County Fair, 2013, in the young adult division.

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