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Spinning Fire

Fire DancerSo today was the last day of us shooting and working at Moose Peterson’s Digital Landscape Workshop series in Kauai, Hawaii and the final show certainly did not disappoint.  We spent the last couple of days out shooting some incredible landscapes, but the workshop does have some cool portrait opportunities.  Like this one, with Paul meeting us on a reef at sunset and treating us to an incredible fire show.

For the shoot, I was paired with a group of students focused on wanting to shoot the PocketWizard Flex TT5 units.  The units worked without a hitch and the students were able to shoot Paul on the reef spinning some fire and mixing Flash and ambient light.   after 2 shots, I moved over to a position and held a flash for the group of students so they could all get a turn  – light falls fast!

Let me tell you, it is HARD to sit and watch others take pictures while you’re like “Ooh! That one! That’s a great shot there!” and not be able to take it.  So, what to do?

I switched the ISO on my camera to about 1100.  It’s a D3s so it can totally take it.  Because the light was changing rapidly (he’s spinning fire in and and out of his face area), so I switched to manual and dialed in a shutter speed i’d live with.  I set back and fired off a series of shots, this being one of them.

While the noise wasn’t really a problem, I saw it like this… I’d much rather have a slightly noisy version of a great moment than no moment at all.


  1. Very cool, RC!!!
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    – Brandon

  2. I was very impressed with the image when you posted on Flickr. I assumed you had used the combination of flash and ambient to capture that Joe McNally “Hot Shoe Diaries” cover look. I was even more impressed when I read that you used available light and high ISO. Nicely done!

  3. Thanks RC for being VAL for the group! Couldn’t have done it without you. You rock dude!

  4. RC, Great shot!!!!! Thanks for all the help and fantastic tips and knowledge you shared with us in Kauai. It was a blast….you are awesome, bro!!!!

  5. Very nice pic, RC!!!! I enjoyed the Kauai trip…and thank you very much for all the great tips and knowledge you imparted. It was fantastic hanging out with you and taking pics.


  6. Hola!
    quiro felicitar por hacer un exelente trabajo cada uno de sus posts es una sospresa para los videntes…

    Y un million de gracias por el libro esta exelente la verdad no tengo palabras para agradecerle por havernos facilitado un paso mas con wordpress ,

    Es lo que estaba nesecitando para terminar mi pagina, espero que el fin de semana lo termine por completo y lo suba a mi server .

    Sin tener mas que decir un ves mas mil gracias por el libro …

    Atentamente Luis

  7. Thanks for all the knowledge and tips you shared during DLWS. It was a pleasure meeting you.

  8. Thanks RC.

    I was one of the others shooting TTL with Moose. As you know we started with the sunset and were shooting F4 at 200 ISO Aperature priority to keep the backgound shot pure and filled with the flash for Paul.

    I also found that as we lost the lost with the sun setting I had to increase ISO to keep up even with the flash. Wish I had thought of it earlier.

    And yes it was very diffucult to anticipate the location of the fire stick, then shoot and not block out Pauls face.

    Thank you for all of your instruction and assistance during DLWS Kauai. Your method of instruction in the classroom if outstanding and your HDR is our of sight.


  9. Thanks for sharing great pictures, RC 🙂

  10. Love the energy, the spinning light, and the warm reflection in the water!

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