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Old Jun 13, 2005, 11:38 PM   #1
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It looks like the White Balance challenge has run its course so I am starting the next challenge a day early. Hope nobody minds.

FIRE -- We can't live without it. Sometimes we can't live with it.

Fire takes many forms--A simple candle flame, the flame of a lighter, a campfire, a fireplace fire, a burning building, a forest fire, and numerous others. Fire often implies the use of sophisticated equipment and trained individuals to control and extinguish the flame.

Your challenge for the next two weeks is to photograph something involving fire or flame. This may sound easy but photographing fire can be tricky and difficult. My experience with photographing fire in bright daylight has not been good. Believe it or not, flames do not show well when photographed in daylight. Flame is actually partially transparent. Bright backgrounds behind the flame will show through. A dark background is preferable.

I don't have any good pointers on shooting flame in daylight. I read somewhere that spot metering on the flame helps. If you choose to photograph a small fire on a sunny day and it turns out well, tell us how you did it. If it didn't turn out well, again, tell us how you did it.

If you choose to shoot an indoor scene with candles or fireplace, concentrate on the artistic elements of the picture--composition, lighting, depth-of-field, etc. Candles can be a beautiful subject for photos. However, we don't want to see a single candle plopped in the middle of the table and lit. A closeup view of a candle flame has been done many times in these forums. Unless you can come up with a new, artistic way to show a candle flame closeup, please choose something else.

On the other side of the coin, is firefighters trying to control or extinguish a fire. If you choose to shoot these activities, we want to see the firefighters working, the hoses spraying, the expressions in the faces of the firefighters. Photos of shiny firetrucks, modern or antique, sitting in front of the fire station are not appropriate.. We want to see fire equipment at work.

To summarize, this challenge is actually two challenges: One to shoot fire outdoors or indoors and make it look artistically pleasing, and two, to shoot scenes of fire fighting. This may sound like a simple challenge, but I think you'll find it more difficult than you originally thought. This is a challenge for the camera, not for your photo editor The only editing that should be done is cropping, contrast, and sharpness.

I am still searching for some good references on shooting fire but I haven't found any. If I find some, I'll add the links to this post.

As usual, if you should decide to accept this challenge, please place the word "FIRE" on your subject line.
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Old Jun 14, 2005, 3:53 PM   #2
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There are likely many people who can't chase fire engines. For instance, where I live, there might be a fire once a month...maybe. It's summer, so anyone with a fireplace is unlikely to use it, and more people have electric stoves than have gas stoves. Not much is left other than candles or burning wads of paper on the sidewalk! Of course, there's always the sun, everyone's favorite ball of fire. Kerosene lanterns are nice, too, but they add trouble with their highly reflective glass. If the cattails were ready, I'd make a torch. Anyone else ever start fires with a magnifying lens? Surely I'm not the only one who, as a kid,set leaves on fire. (Just trying light people's fires.)

--Barbara
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Old Jun 14, 2005, 4:07 PM   #3
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Barbara, the world would be pretty dull without people like you!. Well, wait til you see my pictures of the "fire fountain". I'll keep you guessing on that until tonight.

Gas flames count. If you have any gas lamps near you, they make good subjects but watch the reflection on the glass. I ran across one over the weekend but the reflections ruined it. My polarizer was a block away and I was to lazy to go get it! Go figure!

Cal
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Old Jun 15, 2005, 9:12 AM   #4
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I'd just like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that fire is extremely dangerous. Please don't go setting large blazes that you cannot control with 100% certainty. Many people have been killed by what they thought would be a tiny little fire that they could easily extinguish.

Some safety reminders:
  • Don't light a fire indoors, no matter how controlled you think it can be. (Fireplaces excepted, as are stoves, of course).[/*]
  • Don't light fires near trees, bushes, shrubberies, dead leaves or branches, and NOWHERE near homes or vehicles.[/*]
  • Don't light a fire larger than you!
[/*]
Please please, this weekly challenge sounds very interesting, but the last thing we want is someone to get hurt. When in doubt, just don't do it.

Also I read someone indicate there are not too many fires in his region - that's a fortunate thing, even though it means limited access to shooting that kind of image. I recommend to anyone who wanst to get a shot of firefighters, see if anyone you know can lend you a scanner. My friend, an EMT, is also a "firebuff" he scans constantly in his car, and when he hears of a fire or a police call near him, he goes and photographs whatever he can.

If anyone wants to give us a macro shot of a blazing "doobie" I think that would be ok, right?

-Dan
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Old Jun 15, 2005, 11:33 AM   #5
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DanielT2 wrote:
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If anyone wants to give us a macro shot of a blazing "doobie" I think that would be ok, right?

-Dan
If I only knew what a blazing doobie was....

Your points are very well taken. I would hope the only fires being lit specifically for this challenge are fireplace, campfires, and candles.

Cal
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Old Jun 18, 2005, 3:24 PM   #6
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Sorry, I couldn't resist posting this one after I saw the caution about indoor fires


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Old Jun 18, 2005, 4:36 PM   #7
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No comment!:angry:
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