How to photograph sparkler trail and dancer together?

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by john_e|2, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. I thought I posted this question a few minutes ago but can't find it so am posting again. Sorry , if the original pops up later.
    I 'm trying to photograph a light painting shot of a sparkler being spun in a perpendicular to the ground circle. Then have a dancer jump and be popped with a flash so it looks like she's either jumping through or at least is centered in the circle that has been left by the sparkler trail. capturing the sparkler trail seems pretty straight forward using long exposure at night, however, does anyone know how to achieve the dancer part of the shot? Would the dancer be taken in a double exposure? Or, would the dancer come in a jump at the end of the long exposure using rear curtain flash setting? Is there another way to do this. I've seen this done before by wedding photographers, however, the couple usually stands still while the photographer runs around them holding the light sparkler creating horizontal sparkler trails. Please, don't tell me this can be done with photoshop. I know that it can. My customer wants the real deal not photoshop.
    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Usually you use a flash set to "rear curtain" (at least in Nikon speak). That is when the flash is set to go off at the end of the exposure time.

    The hardest part will be coordinating the jump to match the end of the exposure time.
    Or you can hand hold the flash and set it off when the person jumps ...
  3. What Lorne said.
    I'd probably lean toward setting the camera on Bulb and manually popping the flash as needed and then close the shutter just to remove the hassle of trying to coordinate the rear curtain sync w/ the human action. It will take a bunch of shots to get the timing even sort of right.
  4. Be sure to position the flash so that the light coming from it falls on the dancer in a way that doesn't seem incongruous with the sparkler light. Otherwise the results can ring false.

    Likewise, consider gelling the flash so that the color temp gets along with the sparkler chemistry.
  5. I think most sparklers burn pretty white/blue hot (are they sort of magnesium or aluminum powder?) so I kinda doubt gelling the flash is going to be needed although maybe some additional CTB ?
  6. thanks, So, spin the sparklers then have the dancer jump and pop her with a hand held flash all on bulb setting then close the shutter? is this correct?
  7. Not that you can have sparklers shipped to you in many places (certainly not in my state), there are many web sites selling sparklers. Most of them advertise your choice of sparkler colors, or mixed packages, etc. All depends on the look you're after. But they're certainly not all white.
  8. I live in fireworks-free Massachusetts :( but I never explored the color-range available
  9. I'm in Texas so no problem getting fireworks right before new years. Also, have seen it done with steel wool. Going to try both.
  10. I'd advise against steel wool. Big risk of fire and injury from dripping and spattering molten metal. Depends on the thickness of the fibers, oil content, etc.
    For that matter, be sure the model/dancer is wearing flame retardant clothing, the surroundings aren't combustible (a risk outdoors in Texas during normally dry winters), and there are fire extinguishers available. Ditto first aid and emergency medical help.
    Regarding rear curtain slow sync flash, practice before you start with the model unless the model is very patient. Rear sync flash is much trickier to time than regular slow sync flash.
  11. +1 have a fire extinguisher handy and NO polyester clothing
  12. Pre-focus in the dark, set a shutter twice the length of the time needed to complete the properly exposed, sparkler drawn
    circle. Have an assistant dressed in black (black gloves) draw the circle in the air (how perfect does it have to be?). Then have the
    dancer leap through that well rehearsed spot as another assistant manually pops the flash (via radio trigger). Shutter
    closes. Repeat as needed… t
  13. Tom: Thanks, for the instructions. exactly what I was asking for.
  14. It's not brain science. Or dangerous. Someone may sprain an ankle jumping in the dark. Clear the area. Not rocket surgery. Have your assistant wear oven mitts if they're clumsy. Post a pic when you're done!

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