So, here’s the thing. Recently, we opened our Foto Ruta inbox on a sunday morning ( bad idea in the first place ) and there was this anonymous message in broken english asking advice on how to photograph fire. While some may take this odd cyber-inquiry with suspicion and fear, I must admit, I embraced it whole-heartedly…it almost changed my opinion about emailing on sundays.
Truth is, fire is memorizing, hypnotizing, and once we start following flames with our eyes we often can’t stop. Some of us enjoy lighting things on fire ( present company included ) and some of us just like to feel the heat of a campfire. In anycase, if you haven’t yet, spend some time playing around with fire in your images. After all, photography IS light and fire is just another form, not to mention…it’s like…so much fun.
So here are Foto Ruta’s 3 1/2 tips for getting it right:
Tip No. 1
Fire is a moving subject so you can control the way it appears in a picture by controlling your shutter speed.
A Faster Shutter speed of 320 and above will produce sharper flames and greater detail.
Tip No. 2
Slower Shutter speeds such as 30/sec and below will produce soft and dreamy effect. ( you can also play with a neutral density filter over the lens to get proper exposure)
Tip No. 3
Professional D-LSR equipment is quite resilient these days to a bit of water, dust, cold, and heat. The little Go Pro HERO that is sold out everywhere can even be brought in the bathtub with you or strapped to the edge of a surfboard. But to my knowledge and much to my regret, I don’t know any camera built outside of NASA that is flame resistant. Shoot with a UV filter, a lens hood, or just watch your proximity to the flame. Besides…melted Nikon smells bad.
Tip No. 3 1/2
Handle fire with care: don’t burn down your house, someone else’s house or light someone’s hair on fire…but if you do, make sure to get a good shot of it by using the tips above!
*Note: shutter speeds will vary depending on environment and type of flames so experiment with various settings.