Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fire On Ice–How to photograph


FireOnIce1 copy

Achieving this photo was a tiny wish of mine. A theme composed on two opposing natural elements makes for a nice challenge to shoot. Following are the equipment and method used:

Pentax K100D Super. (Any good digital camera will do. Ideally a DSLR.)

Vivitar manual 50mm f1.7 Prime (A Lens with a minimum of f2 or below would be useful since the shoot demands a low light situation)

Ice Cube. Clearer the better. (My freezer makes only opaque ones)

Zippo Lighter Fluid (for smokeless fire)


Granite or black glass base (Any dark colored base to help with the reflection in the darkness)

The camera was set to Manual with an F-stop of f2 and shutter speed 1/10 and ISO 200 (for less grain) and hung around the neck. An easier and guaranteed way would be to set it on a tripod if you have one for the perfect shot. The lens was focused to the required focal length from the target.

Lighter fluid is a petroleum distillate and floats above the water or ice but burns bright and quick without any smoke. The attempt was made to shoot the initial spread of fire with the blue hue along with the yellow combustion.

The lights were switched off at night for complete darkness. The ice cube was taken out of the freezer quickly and placed on the target area. The match was the lit and held in one hand and the zippo fluid was poured on the ice with the other hand and lit immediately.

The match was thrown aside, the zippo can was kept away and the camera was used to shoot in quick succession by keeping the shutter speed constant and varying the aperture between each shot from 1.7 to 2.8.

Next the process was repeated to light up the cube and three more photos were shot in quick succession keeping the aperture at f2.0 and varying the shutter speed to 1/8, 1/10 and 1/15.

FireOnIce2 copy  FireOnIce3 copy

Six photos and the best of what I could do have been posted here.

I would welcome any suggestions or tips to improve this theme. The difficult part is working with very low ambient light.

Thank you for reading.


Savvy said...

awesome !! and well explained !! keep clicking shankar :)

Siva said...

Good try and well explained

David Mullins said...

i love this post. Thanks for such a great list of wonderful things.. I can’t wait to start reading many of them. Photographer