HowTo: Play With Fire on Camera

Play With Fire on Camera

Here at WonderHowTo, we appreciate the fine art of photography (including its extensively vast bag of mind boggling tricks). We also enjoy playing with fire. Sorry, most of us are little boys at heart, and we can't get enough tutorials that fall within the playing-with-matches realm.

HowTo: Play With Fire on Camera

So imagine my delight when I came across this simple tutorial for capturing fire on camera, from photography gurus, DIY Photography.

You Will Need:

  • lots and lots of matches (DIY Photography went through about 300)
  • a clothes peg
  • a light stand
  • a tripod
  • a fire extinguisher.

Step 1 Set up.

Fairly simple. DIY Photography says:

HowTo: Play With Fire on Camera

"Using a rubber band or some wire attach the cloth peg to the light stand. You will later use the peg to hold the matches, so it is very comfy to have it on a light stand, you can easily adjust height and placement. Admit it, it cannot be any simpler. 

HowTo: Play With Fire on Camera

Once you place your camera, use the light stand amazing ability to move to put the match right where you want to."

Step 2 Set your speed.

"You'll need to use burst mode for this, to maximize the frames per seconds, you really want to use Jpeg. RAW takes some processing time and limits your FPS. (On my Nikon D300 - I got about 2.5 FPS with RAW and a machine gun rate with Jpeg)."

Step 3 Choose your lens.

"My first thought was to use a macro lens. Then I thought, fire, very close to the lens... No thanks. I used the excellent Nikon 24-70, knowing I'll have to crop. So yes, I prefer cropping over closeness - at least when shooting fire."

Step 4 Shoot!

"Set your camera to take Jpegs, and set it to continuous shooting - the faster, the better.

Now fire in general and a heart of a match in particular are very bright, so set your camera accordingly: ISO 200, shutter speed 1/500 and aperture f/8-f/9. To save to focusing time, focus on the match and set your camera to manual focus.

HowTo: Play With Fire on Camera

Remember, you're shooting jpegs, so make sure you have your white balance set properly.

Now place a perfectly healthy match in the peg. Focus your camera and start another match.

As with the burning light bulb, the secret is to take timely sequences. Start the sequence before lighting the "real" match, and then light the real match while taking more and more photographs.

HowTo: Play With Fire on Camera

Release the shutter release button, and blow the match.  A cycle is completed. Chances are you have one or two good shots now.

Repeat until no more matches are left."

Step 5 Play around in post.

Post suggestion: "Drag the white balance to the far edge - you'll get a cool blue fire."

HowTo: Play With Fire on Camera

For more details and tips, click through to DIY Photography.

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