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Photographing fire spinners

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  • #1394
    aesoprock-00
    Participant

    so, recently in Pittsburgh we’ve been trying to get together a group of poi spinners and fire spinners. we meet in a park weekly after sunset, and there’s a few people spinning fire. i’ve been bringing my camera (Nikon D40 with 18-55mm lens) and Tripod and setting up to take as many awesome pictures as possible.

    my pictures from the last few weeks can be seen at http://www.joyofpoi.com/fire

    my question is, how do i make my pictures better? they already come out very cool, basically just using the S (shutter priority mode) and generally setting my shutter speeds between 1/10 and 2 seconds, sometimes much longer (slower), sometimes shorter (faster), to play around and see what works best.

    the question is, how can i take a photo like this one?
    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/76/192883493_f09f945092.jpg?v=0

    I know essentially, i’ll need the subject to stand as still as possible, with only the fire moving, but is the flash used in conjunction with a slower shutter speed? any tips anyone has or comments on my photos? Thanks!

    #18495
    aesoprock-00
    Participant

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/larslarsen/2540957128/in/set-72157603483451666/

    here’s another one, and though this guy says in the comment of the photo
    “Poi spinner lit with two remote 580ex-II flashes on light stands at 45 degree angles on ETTL. ISO 100, exposure: 2 seconds at f/5.0 “

    i wonder if there’s an amateur or poor man’s way of doing it similarly, without 2 remote flashes on light stands. but then again, maybe there isn’t.

    #18496
    sleeping
    Participant

    What you’re going to need to do for starters is to turn on rear curtain flash (hold down the flash release button and turn the rear command dial I think), which fires the flash at the very end of the exposure. Then put it in S mode and set the shutter speed to a few seconds. I’m not sure how well this will work with the puny build in flash, though, but if it doesn’t work at first, try getting closer and turning up your ISO.

    #18497
    aesoprock-00
    Participant

    eventually i’d like to get better equipment, flashes and the like, i just can’t afford or justify it yet. our next fire session is on Wednesday, and i’d like to play around with getting close and using even just the built in flash, to see if it works. thanks for the thoughts sleeping

    #18498
    soosh
    Participant

    You might look at low-budget flashes, like Vivitars and such. you don’t necessarily need them to be remote and triggered and all that, you just need them to go off. and since they’re not going to be connected to the camera, they don’t have to be made precisely for what you’re doing. I think flashes like the Vivitar 283 can be used for remote lighting like this to a great deal of usefulness, and you can get a used one from B&H for like $70.

    #18499
    sleeping
    Participant

    And if you really want to learn about lighting, this is an excellent place to start:

    http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html

    #18500
    DeaconBlues
    Participant

    the poor man’s way of doing this is to hold your flash in your hand, set your camera to iso 100, set your camera to b, and use a cable release or remote to just hold the shutter open until you are pleased with the amount of swirls, then pop the flash test button on your flash, then let go of the cable release. since you are using the flash, and you are doing a long exposure, you won’t need a really high iso (assuming the same holds true for digital as it does for film, i do all of my long exposure work, and shots like this, with 100 or 400 speed film.)

    if you don’t have a handheld flash, you can get a cheap one for thirty bucks or less at your friendly local camera store, used. that is all you need.

    it goes without saying that you should be on a tripod for this. also, it helps if your background is as dark as possible so the swirls really pop, and ask the twirler to do so as slowly as is safe.

    #18501
    aesoprock-00
    Participant

    just wanted to post a little follow up. this week in addition to fire we had some folks with Ogg Glow Poi, which produced a lot of cool shots on its own. but here’s just one shot (of many that i took) that i used the Flash in Rear Mode as suggested by sleeping.

    all of the pictures taken can be seen here: http://www.joyofpoi.com/fire/08202008/all
    or broken down by individual spinner here: http://www.joyofpoi.com/fire/08202008


    it’s a little bright/washed out, but that’s with the built in flash on the Nikon D40. I’m going to look into playing with some flash settings, as well as getting an external flash.

    #18502
    nobigdeal
    Participant

    Way cool…

    Looks like a fun thing to shoot

    #18503
    aesoprock-00
    Participant

    I actually posted this same question over at digital-photography-school.com, and got few responses at first, but then the photographer of one of the “sample perfect shot”s that i posted as an example showed up and gave some fantastic advice. i’ll post the link below just to add it to the info here at farktography..

    http://digital-photography-school.com/forum/showpost.php?p=256202&postcount=3

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