Play­ing with fire

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

Don’t rush this process, and put safety be­fore any­thing else

01 Spark in the dark

Dur­ing the day­time, the sun will be too bright for the trails to show up. Wait un­til dusk or, bet­ter yet, night time, then find a lo­ca­tion with­out too much am­bi­ent light from things like street lights; that way your fire will stand out in the dark­ness.

02 Woolly think­ing

Take your steel wool and tease it apart, then push it be­tween the gaps in the metal whisk. Teased wool burns more eas­ily and evenly. At­tach the rope se­curely to the whisk; you don’t want it fly­ing off and in­jur­ing some­one.

03 Ready, steady…

To cap­ture trails of fly­ing em­bers against a sharp back­ground, you’ll need to set a small aper­ture and a long shut­ter speed, so a tri­pod is vi­tal. Get your com­po­si­tion sorted first, be­fore you light the wire wool, tak­ing a few test shots if needed.

04 Go long

For our shot, we set an aper­ture of f/16 in man­ual mode to keep the sparks and the tun­nel in fo­cus. We then ex­per­i­mented with shut­ter speed, and found that 10 secs was long enough to record a cir­cu­lar trail, and ex­pose the im­age cor­rectly.

05 Do it your­self

Use your Nikon’s self-timer if you’re do­ing the spin­ning your­self – 10 sec­onds will give you time to get in front of the cam­era. Al­ter­na­tively, get a friend to use a re­mote release to fire off the shots, or have them spin while you op­er­ate the cam­era.

06 Spin wool into gold

Set the wool ablaze and spin it around you; you can spin it in any di­rec­tion, but for that clas­sic fiery cir­cle look, spin it per­pen­dic­u­lar to the cam­era. We no­ticed lit­tle ‘splashes’ of fire as the fly­ing wool hit the tun­nel walls.

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