Aloha from Kauai
Just came back from my DLWS Kauai workshop. I was getting tired of shooting palm trees when this happened. Totally awesome!
The fire knife dancer in the picture is Paul; he was our special guest for the last evening shoot. Paul has been performing fire knife dances since he was about 14; he’s got scars on both of his arms to support his credentials.
Setting up for this shot was not technically tricky, except:
- There were about 20 shooters, so taking turns was a little complicated. We decided to split into two sets of lights. One group was going to shoot Nikon CLS; while the other was going with pocket wizards. That was we won’t have 20 sets of lights firing at the same time.
- Ambient light was fading away really quick.
- Paul could only twirl the torches for a short period of time before either the torch runs out of kerosene or Paul runs out of juice.
Timing was everything. Before my turn, I put the camera in manual mode. I metered the ambient to my liking, then checked the flash’s exposure really quick before Paul gets on the set. As the ambient fades, all I need to do is decrease the shutter speed (aperture controls the exposure of the flash while shutter speed controls the exposure of the ambient). We decided to add a 1/4 CTO gel to the flash so it matches the color of the fire. And yes, there is a ring of fire on the water; some kerosene dropped from the torch and somehow it got lit. Really spectacular!
The result turns out really great despite the fact that I only get to shoot about 3 frames before having to hand off the packet wizard to the next shooter. Not bad at all…