DLWS Kauai Final Shoot – Fire Knife Dancer
This is our final shoot from DLWS Kauai. The location is Anini Beach; a quiet location with very calm water. Besides the pleasant scenery; we were there for the main event – fire knife dancer Paul!
We got there early; so we had about an hour to capture the beauty of Anini Beach. Besides the coast line, there was this curvy stream that runs down to the ocean from the hills.
As usual, rain came pouring down all of a sudden. We all scrambled and rushed back to our cars. Not that we were afraid of getting wet; but we had to protect our expensive toys. We estimated that among the four of us in the carpool, we probably had $50,000 worth of equipments. Luckily, the rain came and went in no time. Which gave us one last chance to capture the Anini coast line before Paul arrives.
Paul started his career at 19, older than most fire knife dancer. He competes in fire knife competition every year; we will all be rooting for him this year. Before the sun goes down and ambient gets dark enough for the fire knife, we decided to do some natural light only portraits. Check out Paul’s tattoos and scars!
Soon, the sky was dark enough to start setting up for speed lights. As described in previous post, we separated the shooters in to Nikon CLS (auto metering) and Pocket Wizards (manual metering). I chose to go with the manual metering group since I always get more consistent exposure that way. As usual, the concept is to setup the camera in manual mode to slightly under expose the ambient; then adjust aperture or flash power until the subject is lit to liking. Here is a test shot.
Now that the setup is checked, it is time to have Paul light up the show! We each get to shoot about 3 frames then we have to pass the pocket wizard to the next guy. Here is the same picture from the first post, except I processed it slightly different. a) adjusted the white balance, b) darkened the water at the lower left corner, c) reduced noise.
While waiting for my turn, I decided to take some pictures at high ISO with ambient only. The trick is to wait for Paul to bring the light in front so the fire will light up his face. The tough part in post processing was white balance. I can’t really quite get them to be consistent cause light color is different depending on the position it was at.
The whole shoot was so exciting; it felt like Paul performed for a very brief duration. In reality, he probably was spinning fire for more than 30 minutes. He must be really exhausted. But he kept going until he ran out of torches. Here is one last picture from that evening with Paul virtually surrounded by fire.