Ring of fire

Get in a spin with this bril­liant pro­ject

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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…

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