Ring of fire
Get in a spin with this brilliant project
For this tutorial we’ll be shooting poi, a traditional Maori performance art that involves swinging tethered weights in rhythmic patterns.
Poi come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some have flags on, others have LEDs inside… and then there’s fire poi. We started with a test shot using a LED poi to ensure we had our settings nailed, then moved on to the fire poi to add drama to the final shot. You’ll need a performer to do all the spinning for you, but once you’ve got someone in place, this shot is like a walk on the beach.
If you’ve been following the series so far, you’ll have learned that you can balance ambient light with flash, use DIY modifiers to shape your light, and that you have the ability to control the shot through your Nikon’s exposure settings.
Now we’re combining all these ingredients together to get more creative. Essentially, we’re setting our exposure to underexpose the ambient light in the sky, and also to be long enough to capture the spinning poi as fiery streaks. The flash, meanwhile, lights and freezes the movement of the performer, so that they appear crisp.
We’ll be walking you through balancing the ambient and flash light, colouring it, shaping it and positioning it for the perfect results. Let’s get spinning…