Got a light?

Discussion in 'Macro, Flowers, Insects, and Greenery' started by JB, Aug 12, 2005.

  1. JB


    May 27, 2005
    Washington, DC

    Nikon D2x, Nikkor 105mm f/2.8D AF Micro
    1/50s f/11.0 at 105.0mm iso800

    I had a a lot of fun trying to get this shot. You only have a few moments to catch the flame just right between the initial flare up and the match warping as it burns down. Nailing the focus is another challenge with the shallow DOF at this distance. I particularly like the blue edge around the base of the flame on this capture.
  2. Cool image. Looks like you nailed it.
  3. Lisa


    May 3, 2005

    Now that IS cool! 8) If you don't mind, can you explain how to do something like this?

  4. Wow, I like that! It sounds like you have incredible patience, and it surely paid off. Great shot!
  5. Interesting to see the different shades of yellow that moves to white hot.
  6. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005

    Cool (or is it hot? ;-)) shot. I've played around with something similar, but I used a candle flame. Gives you more time to set up the shot for sure. 8)
  7. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    Beautiful shot.

    Curious why you did not inclued the tip of the flame though. Or was it just to hard to get the darn thing to begin with.

    Good job.
  8. Irene

    Irene Guest

    Very good, very creative.

    Best regards,
  9. JB


    May 27, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Hi Lisa,


    Set up your camera on a stable platform (table top tripod, bean bag, etc). Use of the Nikkor 105mm Micro is ideal but other options exist. The 105 gives ample working distance from the flame but frames the match head well.

    Use wooden matches and arrange one at the distance you'd like based on how much flame you want in the frame. Use a clamp or putty of some sort to hold the match. Don't light it yet. With the lights on in the room frame the match head, focus carefully on the side of the match head facing the camera. I focus manually to get this how I want it. The depth of field will be very shallow when you are this close, less than the thickness of the match head making this one of the most important steps. (Tip - It may be easier to move the match slightly than to try to re-focus the lens.) Stop down the lens to give you a bit more DOF. One of my goals is to have the burned match head in crisp focus although some longer exposures are pleasing with the entire flame blurred. (Another tip - Lean the match slightly towards the lens. This way you are shooting through less flame giving you a better chance of catching the match head crisply.)

    Put the camera in Manual Mode and start with the settings I used above. Shoot RAW, use Auto WB in camera and adjust to taste in workflow. Adjust the settings after a few test shots for your specific situation. A higher ISO/shutter speed will help you stop the motion, otherwise the flames motion will blur the match head.

    Turn down the lights, but it does not need to be absolutely dark. Get behind the camera and get ready, light the match in the frame now with another match. Wait for the initial flare to pass and catch a few frames. You won't have too long to get the shot because the match will warp as the flame burns down the stick. Given the shallow DOF even the smallest movement by the burning match will pull the head out of your focus.

    I hope this helps. Give it a try, I think you'll be pleased with the results.

    Please take a look, more examples here;
  10. JB


    May 27, 2005
    Washington, DC
    sometime I'll get the entire flame

    Hi Gale,

    On some shots I'll go for the entire flame, in others I'll concentrate more on the cinder-like texture of the burned match head. If you want to get great detail on the head it can be hard to get the entire flame in the frame.

    There is a little variety in my gallery.
  11. Lisa


    May 3, 2005
    Thanks JB! I'd love to try this but I have the 60mm, think that will work?
    I'd hate to melt anything :cry:
  12. JB


    May 27, 2005
    Washington, DC
    It might! Give it a try. Allow at least 2 inches so the flare from the match lighting does not burn your lens. This is a situation where you should also have a protective filter on the lens. I used a Nikon L37c.
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