Playing with Fire

Ok, so we aren’t supposed to play with matches or fire, right?  Time to break the rules!  FYI, if you try something like this, please don’t burn your house down!  This was a fun little project I wanted to try and I had a few minutes of free time this evening.  So, here goes… Let me explain my setup.  Forgive the super cheesy diagram…

  1. First off, these are macro shots so you’ll want to use a macro lens or use extension tubes.  I use extension tubes.
  2. Since this is a macro shot, use a tripod to keep still enough
  3. Next, you’ll need something that holds your match.  I had a goose-neck clamp thingy (my technical terminology) in my garage that I used to hold mine in place.
  4. I used a black piece of construction paper in the background to give me a nice contrast
  5. To get the smoke to show up, you’ll need a flash or strobe.  I angled mine behind and a bit to the side
  6. It isn’t in the diagram, but I also had a cookie sheet below the match just in case it dropped.  Safety first!

To take the shots, I set my focus to manual and focused sharply on the tip of the match.  I used a low ISO but cranked my F stop up to about 11 to get some depth of field since I couldn’t control where the smoke went.  Then, I used my right hand with a lighter to ignite the match while I fired the camera with my left hand.  It takes quite a few attempts to get it right.  Here are the rest of my shots from this experiment:


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