Fire Spinning

For the people who know me and even any one who has actually been reading my blog you’ll have properly realized by now I’m not one to let the grass grow. I like to keep busy and active with a range of diverse and often slight unusual hobbies This post is about one of them.

I’ve recently Joined “Purple Mermaid Circus Society” at my local university as I’ve been interested in Poi for a few years so it seemed a good idea to find some where to practice so I joined up. This presents me with a unique opportunity photographically. The Society is full of talented individuals who practice all kinds of circus goodness.

Last night we had a “Fire” practice session something we very rarely do so I jumped at the chance to photograph Fire Poi, Staff, Juggling and anything else we could safly burn and play with to put on a show

Shooting fire spinning has its own unique set of problems. Your shooting in darkness to see the fire but the fire it self is super bright. Then you need to us long exposure to see the trails the fire makes but then the person performing is blurred assuming they have been picked up by the sensor this is a problem so how do you shoot it.

On my limited opportunities to try this I’ve found a good working formulaSet the camera on a tripod attach a SB 900 flash or similar and set it to AF only as your camera can’t focus in that light. Set your iso to something low I use the native 200 on my D300s I then attach a cable release to remove any vibration. Then set the camera to fully manual have the shutter speed set to BULB and have the F/stop some where between f/6 and f/13 depending on the shot then just guess the time of the exposure with the cable release normally something like 2-5 seconds works best

Hope that helped if your interesting in trying it your self you can use my trail and error as your start point! I’ve also go a few ideas for combining this method with a rear curtain sink flash to freeze and illuminate the performer I’ll have to let you know how that goes as and when I get a chance to try it.

Full Set Enjoy…

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2 Responses to Fire Spinning

  1. Sam says:

    I always find your photos amazing!! And I think it’s awesome you’ve found somewhere to practise poi too. Maybe when I can afford it, I’ll look around Bristol for the same sort of thing so I can learn more with others.

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