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Forums > Technical Discussion > Photographing Poi with a DSLR

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Richard2
BRONZE Member since Jul 2007

Member
Location: , United Kingdom

Total posts: 3
Posted:Just wondering on the best settings to shoot fire Poi. mainly what ISO/aperture combinations seem to work best.

I'm using a Nikon D200 and I'll try to use my 50mm f1.8 prime lens if possible (space permitting).

(I'll also be using a tripod).


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marco


enthusiast
Location: uk

Total posts: 328
Posted:It varies, obviously, I tend to use iso 200 / 400 on my D200 at around quater or half a second, depends on the performer and what I'm after, quite often a longer exposure, f8 is supposed to be lense's sweet spot,

mark


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bender
GOLD Member since Nov 2001

still can't believe it's not butter
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 6979
Posted:suggesting exposure settings are not so useful unless you've decided upon what type of shot you want to take.
Here's what's worked fo me over the years:

Will you want to emphasise fire trails?
- longer exposure (1/4 sec or longer for most twirlers' speed), with tripod/monopod/image stabiliser(not with tripod)
- position yourself so that the flames are against a dim background.
- often boring, repetitive movements will result in an interesting shot if you give it a long enough exposure (15 sec+)
- for technical shots, a 1 sec exposure of fast, accurate planes will be ace.
- try to not shoot directly in a 90 degree angle to your subject all the time. it's boring after a while. try to frame a large element of the background (a tree, audience, a llama, ... i'm a big fan of water reflections) for context, however don't go over the top, you don't want to detract from the fire trail itself!
- sometimes if you are too close, a lower ISO sensitivity setting is necessary, for example ISO 200 or less when you are 2 meters away from a steel wool 1 sec exposure smile

Will you want to emphasise the firetwirler?
- shorter exposure (1/8 or shorter have given me the best results, at ISO 400 or higher. do not use hi ISO if your digital camera produces too much 'noise')
- if you have to use a flash, give it a rear-curtain setting so that the fire trails behind the moment of flash. provides direction for the shot.
- i'm not a fan of the flat lighting that a flash provides. would rather prefer that your subject have some ambient/key lighting so that the half of their body that is not in total darkness.
- zoom in! don't be afraid of cutting off parts of a twirler's body - you will get good results if you focus in on interesting, evocative detail. that is worth losting a little of the context provided by the missing elements. firelight is such a warm spectrum to light up a smiling twirler's face... when they remember to smile. tell them a bum joke if they ain't showing their pearly teeth, works for me smile


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s'more ideas:
Fire twirling gallery on my fire twirling site

Fire twirling shots on my Hop Gallery


lastly, consider entering your best results into the HoP competitions wink
b


Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always

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Ry
GOLD Member since Feb 2005

Ry

Gromit's Humble Squire
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Total posts: 4496
Posted: Written by: bender



suggesting exposure settings are not so useful unless you've decided upon what type of shot you want to take.





That's exactly right.



You could get a great shot 135mm, 10 metres away, ISO1600, expose for daylight, f2.8, but that being said, you could get a great shot 28mm, standing 3 metres from your subject, ISO100, f.11, 0"4s, guide 58 manual 1/1 diffused flash on rear sync.



In other circumstances, those settings could give you rubbish.



A more useful way to phrase it would include the scenario, the available light, the background, the type of poi, even the skin colour of the performer, as well as the shot you're trying to achieve.



Some shots:

www.myspace.com/postpossum, or check my gallery (fire shots are somewhat deep down these days..)



Biggest piece of advice, experiment and take notes. Good luck and light smile


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mech
BRONZE Member since Jun 2003

mech

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: "In your ear", United Kingdom

Total posts: 6207
Posted: Written by: Ry


 Written by: bender


suggesting exposure settings are not so useful unless you've decided upon what type of shot you want to take.



That's exactly right.

You could get a great shot 135mm, 10 metres away, ISO1600, expose for daylight, f2.8, but that being said, you could get a great shot 28mm, standing 3 metres from your subject, ISO100, f.11, 0"4s, guide 58 manual 1/1 diffused flash on rear sync.





do i even need to call you a geek wink


Step (el-nombrie)

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Ry
GOLD Member since Feb 2005

Ry

Gromit's Humble Squire
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Total posts: 4496
Posted:Yep. But it won't mean people will believe you wink

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mech
BRONZE Member since Jun 2003

mech

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: "In your ear", United Kingdom

Total posts: 6207
Posted: Written by: Ry


Yep. But it won't mean people will believe you wink



no no no your gallery will do that for me

wink

your wicked dude smile

(but that arse whooping is coming)


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Richard2
BRONZE Member since Jul 2007

Member
Location: , United Kingdom

Total posts: 3
Posted:Thanks for the replies, especially bender, great post and - wow - your poi and non poi shots are incredible, definitely a source of inspiration.



I'm picking up my own new poi from the post-office on Friday, so I think a bit of self-timer practice is needed.



p.s. - this is the one poi shot I've taken so far, taken last Nov. (to be honest it's two shots photoshpoed together, and I think one was a fire staff shot).






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EDITED_BY: Richard2 (1184708226)


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UCOF
SILVER Member since Apr 2002

UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: , United Kingdom

Total posts: 15414
Posted:Im suprised no one has posted a link to this yet. umm

Also,
 Written by: Richard2

your poi and non poi shots are incredible, definitely a source of inspiration.



Nah, bender is more of a source of jam and furballs.


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mech
BRONZE Member since Jun 2003

mech

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: "In your ear", United Kingdom

Total posts: 6207
Posted:best advice i can give, is to get out and shoot a couple of hundred shots a night, and then go through, and read the exif files, and get used to a shoot style that you like, read the exif of the files, lean what compliments your shoot style.

play lots and lots.

my gallery is empty of fire shots now pretty much, but you are welcome to have a look.

also there is mechhead.deviantart.com

and as soon as i stop procrastinating, and sort out my website, ill turn that back on, and you can have a look there to.


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bender
GOLD Member since Nov 2001

still can't believe it's not butter
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Total posts: 6979
Posted:Also, having a flip out screen helps with low angle shots.
I wanted to shoot some autumn themed fire shots, so i took off my shoe to use it as a low tripod (my tripod only goes down to 40cm, which was unsuitable for this shot), plonked a camera on it and composed a long expsure with the fold out screen.

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be inventive!


Laugh Often, Smile Much, Post lolcats Always

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:and another .2 bucks:

- Flash photography:

1st or 2nd curtain sync flash, whilst shooting at long term exposure will enhance the performer AND still give you trails. You can even do this with an ordinary consumer camera (set exposure to +2 f-stops and flash you go)

Link to my gallery Most of these have been shot with ordinary cosumer digicams (no DLSR)

In my Flickr account you will find a few examples too, like this one:


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You can see the highlights set by the flash and still you got the trails.

- Panning and zooming:

Now this is where it really gets artistic. You do not necessarily need a tripod in order to make great fire pics, even in 90 angle to the performers.

If you have a zoom lens, you can zoom in and out and give the most boring 3beat forward weave the most amazing depth (no double exposure needed).

And if you do not have a zoom lens, or just an ordinary consumer digicam, you can still pan your camera from right to left, over and out. You will get really nice results.

On the next one you will see Eden Jablonkas shot after I instructed him. You will notice "three of me". I was standing still, but he panned the camera twice in one shot, rested in between...


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- Models:

For the last ten years I wanted to realize fire fotography as it was in my head. Unfortunately I always met "funny" spinners who had some stone-age approach in regards of having their picture taken shrug I'm happy to see that this attitude seem to have generally changed.

You will also get to a point where you "paint" with fire. Giving yourself, or your model instructions and timeframe in which a certain move/ distance/ shape is constructed. Paint letters, animals and the like. Double exposure is a really interesting media, if you get into conceptional art, whereas I like to minimize Photoshopping as much as possible...

- Background:

You will find that the setting is a very important part of the picture. For say an underpath or in front of a brick wall. You can compose your picture to the last bit (hail digital photography).

- Blue hour shooting:

And you will find that blue hours (just before and after sunset) is one of the most beautiful moments to shoot fire (ideally with a tripod). I have seen a picture of a spin in front of an ocean setting at blue hour. You got the trails of the fire and still see waves (in motion). The contrast of the red, orange and yellow, against the blueish backdrop is amazingly beautiful.

ubblove

Nice thread (even though I'm certain it's not the first - and propably not the last one)...

At last I want to point out Jonathons work, which is the most stunning I have ben able to come across in the field of (professional) fire photography. Real art from a real artist:

Please visit Jonathon Brown


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Richard2
BRONZE Member since Jul 2007

Member
Location: , United Kingdom

Total posts: 3
Posted:Wow, that Jhonathan Brown link is amazing.

I had a go a few days ago, but I'm the only person I know who uses Poi, so I had to set the camera on a tripod and use a 10/20sec timer.

Here's a couple that worked -


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(iso800, f4.5, 1/3 sec)

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(iso800, f5.6, 1 sec)

I quite like the first because the flames haven't completely blow out and you can see the flame better, problem of course is it hasn't lit the rest of the scene.


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marco


enthusiast
Location: uk

Total posts: 328
Posted:Below is some of the material that I routinely produce for which I hold the copyright(s) for, my background is as professional photogrpaher and performer, these are heavily compressed low resolution for web only, hence the quality is less that I would like, if anyone is interested in the exposure / iso settings I'll see I I can recover that information from the exif data.






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mark



llonen (firetoys), Djinn (fenfire_uk)


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Richard: great shots, especially for a "one hand does it all" job. (sidemark: are you the only one in the area you know who can operate a camera? wink wink wink ) you can definitely vary the results depending on the "speed of twirl"...

Marco: I really love the first shot... did you photoshop the color or was it the stage lights?

Blue foil in front of the flash or blue filter can do some wicked things with the pictures....


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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marco


enthusiast
Location: uk

Total posts: 328
Posted:This was a professional stage show that I organised in Greece, the color was a combination of bank of 1kw stage lighting heads on a horizontal gantry with varoius gels and gobo's, as well as some post production editing. for this serise there was no flash used.


mark


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Red_RaveN
GOLD Member since Jun 2003

Neo - Hippie
Location: Sala, Slovakia

Total posts: 358
Posted:Richard: that 2nd photo is INCREDIBLE smile I like the way the poi illuminated the scene very much..



And also my 2pence..



Play around with white balance.. An usual setting will give you a photo with an orange tone, like you see on most photos.. Tho if you adjust a bit, you can even get photos without this hue, with almost real ("daylight") color..



Ill add some examples tomorrow smile

EDITED_BY: Red_RaveN (1185296849)


Smile.. It confuses people..:)

Wonders never cease as long as you never cease to wonder.

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