Spinner takes all

He used to shoot video, but Martin Smith has found a form of pho­tog­ra­phy that sat­is­fies his need for move­ment

NPhoto - - Over To You… -

project info miss ion To ligh t up the dark­ness, li ter­ally and crea t ively

pho­tograp her Martin Smi th Age 46 Lo­ca­tion Brough ty Ferry, Scot­land

Kit Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S DX 18-70mm f/3.54.5G ED, Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, Man­frot t o 294 trip od, Nikon SB-700 Speed­ligh t, selec t ion of fil­ters

WEB www.face­book.com/ f irechill fot o

I came to pho­tog­ra­phy from back­ground in video. I’d never quite got­ten pho­tog­ra­phy be­fore – I couldn’t un­der­stand why any­one would want to look at a still im­age as op­posed to mov­ing ones – but now the video cam­era has been sold, and I’ve in­vested in a Nikon D800.

I think I’ve al­ways had a se­cret fas­ci­na­tion with fire, which is a world apart from my job as a safety of­fi­cer on off­shore oil and gas rigs – play­ing with fire out there is kind of frowned upon! Af­ter read­ing an in­spi­ra­tional ar­ti­cle in N-Photo, and do­ing a lit­tle re­search, I was ready to give fire spin­ning a try with my friend and fel­low pho­tog­ra­pher Gus; this is the sort of project that’s more fun, and safer, to at­tempt with two of you.

Where to spin

The best lo­ca­tions I’ve found to fire spin are de­serted train tun­nels, derelict build­ings (not flammable wooden ones!), and any­where there’s wa­ter to give those glo­ri­ous re­flec­tions. It’s also nice to have some­thing in the fore­ground to sil­hou­ette against the fire, and to give the pho­to­graphs a sense of scale.

It’s a real thrill stand­ing in the pitch dark­ness with molten steel spin­ning only a few inches away; and be­lieve me, you will feel the heat and smell the fumes. Re­mem­ber, per­sonal safety should al­ways be your first con­sid­er­a­tion.

Plan­ning is vi­tal and you re­ally need to scout your lo­ca­tions in day­light first just in case there are any nasty sur­prises, es­pe­cially around wa­ter. I find that mak­ing a rough sketch of what I want

to achieve helps. There are so many tech­niques, and I ad­vise do­ing some re­search or join­ing like­minded people on a so­cial net­work where you’ll find plenty of ideas be­ing dis­cussed. Com­bin­ing fire-spin­ning with light-paint­ing, for ex­am­ple, adds a new di­men­sion to your pho­tos.

My ex­po­sures are gen­er­ally 15 to 30 sec­onds when firespin­ning, and can be sev­eral min­utes if I add in light paint­ing. I start my aper­ture at around f/5, but depend­ing on how long I’m spin­ning for I may go down to f/11 or lower; it’s all about ex­per­i­ment­ing. I keep the ISO as low as pos­si­ble, and I also find that set­ting the White Bal­ance to In­can­des­cent works well.

My next project is to find a large wa­ter­fall with a cave, so that I can spin fire from be­hind the wa­ter to cre­ate a fiery mist. It’s go­ing to take some plan­ning, but I reckon the end re­sults will look amaz­ing!

01 fIRE MAN Nikon D300, Nikon DX 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5, f/5, 35 secs, ISO200

02 Donn ie Da rko Nikon D300, Nikon DX 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5, f/5.6, 107 secs, ISO200

04 Fire Wheel by Ta y Bridge

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.3, f/11, 15 secs, ISO3200


03 De­serted Build­ing

Nikon D300, Nikon DX 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5, f/11, 106 secs, ISO200


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