This is my first photo as part of my intermediate photography course at Blackthorn the theme is opposites.  I choose fire and ice or hot and cold if you prefer. My initial thinking was to have a cup with ice and spray over some zippo lighter fluid and light it and snap away.  But like all things it takes a bit more organising. The photo below is as is out of the camera with just a bit of cropping.


I settled on a glass bowl as it provided a bit more width and I never had a suitable glass mug or cup.  I setup a bench with some black material, I used velour, took several test shots before deciding to use the reverse side of the material as it had less sheen about it.  Then moved the off camera flash around until I had the background black but some light on the bowl.  This put the flash just below the flat surface and off to the right and coming in from behind the bowl.

I set the aperature to f10, I wanted everything in focus and to be somewhere in the sweet spot of the lens.  A shutter speed of 1/10 sec so that the flames have a little bit of movement and focused manually.   Then I adjusted the power of the flash to get the right illumination on the empty bowl.  This turned out to be about 1/16 of the strength.

First Attempt:  Everything ready to shoot so I put the ice in the bowl and sprayed on the lighter fluid and lit it with a BBQ style flame lighter.  Ta-da or maybe not!!  Turns out the ice cools the fluid too much for it to still vapour off so there is nothing to light.  First attempt epic fail :(

Second attempt:  I got some white toilet roll and screwed up a few pieces and hide it between the ice and put the lighter fluid on this.  This worked but the water from the ice melts quickly into the paper and it was hard to get a good flame going before it got put out again :|

Third attempt:  So not to be put off I got some white kitchen roll and rolled up a few pieces and put them into the pile of ice and arranged the ice so they weren't obvious.  The lighter fluid went on to the kitchen roll and then I managed to light it and it stayed lit for more than enough time to get a few shots that I was happy with :)