Reign of Fire
“My name is Masi Bardi, and I’ve been a professional photographer, based out of Vancouver, Canada for 7 years. I will begin this write up with saying: Please be careful, do your homework, and don’t take playing with any sort of fire lightly.
I did this photograph for a paintball gun company I’ve worked with in the past. They had a new gun and I had free reign to come up with an image.
After watching some videos on youtube I came across a video of a Steel Wool Photography Tutorial (links below) It basically taught me what I needed to
make the steel wool spinning device.
It’s pretty simple, all you need is a dog leash, a metal whisk, some fine steel wool and a lighter. All of which can be found at any dollar store.
To do this shot, I needed a safe location that had nothing flammable around it. Unfortunately, the night we were doing the shoot it was pouring rain, so we had to go
somewhere covered. We ended up underneath a bridge; however, it was a bit of trek to get there so we had to pack light.
I ended up just bringing a couple of 580 EX Canon Flashes, a few pocket wizards, 2 light stands, 2 shoot through umbrellas, and my 5D Mk 2 with the 24-105mm f/4 lens.
After playing around with different exposure times, I realized that shooting at f/8 at 100 ISO and anywhere from 10-15 seconds was great. This exact shot was at 10 seconds.
The lighting setup was very simple: Just one bare handheld flash directly above camera pointing down at a sharp angle at 1/2 power . Immediately after I exposed the model, my
friend on camera right began spinning the steel wool device directed straight towards the gun, our goal being to capture the the sparks to bouncing off of the armour.
In photoshop, I color graded the model with greens and blues, added some sharpness, contrast and a bit of vignette to take away some of the attention from the sparks.
Big thanks to Matt Chan and Mike Tu for all of their help!” – Masi Bardi