July has been an expensive month for me so far. My little studio area has been cleaned up, all the props have been sorted and reorganised. I have hazard tape every meter on the floor and signs to remind people not to sit on each other. I have a 3 new high speed flash lights in there for our new Creative Workshops as well as our Elinchrom work-horses for the other things … and I have hand sanitiser.
Rather a lot of hand sanitiser.
Some of it is quite high in alcohol content as apparently the Corona Virus is alcohol intolerant and doesn’t drink or something. When the virus comes in to contact with alcohol it throws a hissy fit and goes off to die sulking in a corner. But, alcohol has another useful property.
It burns …
And … it burns readily, easily and with at a relatively cool temperature (for fire anyway!).
So, one day I’m sat there with some innocent young dandelions, gently wafting smoke from a joss stick through them in front of the camera, filling the clock with smoke then photographing it as the smoke rose out from it … like this …
Having just returned from a quick foray into the garden to collect more dandelions I sprayed my hands with sanitiser “just in case” … and as I inhaled the fumes the thought popped in to my head… “I wonder what would happen if I sprayed the dandelion with hand sanitiser and lit it”?
A quick change of settings, no flash needed but I would need time to light the dandelion, so a five second exposure used in a dark room with the black velvet background set well back from the flame and a fire proof ceramic tile under the dandelion. Safety first!
Once the dandelion was set up in place, camera on a tripod and manually focused, dandelion sprayed with a few puffs of alcohol from a little pump spray … light it and click the remote shutter release …
WOOOOF … and the dandelion was gone in about a second never mind 5 seconds! A word from the wise now … don’t stand over your dandelion! The flare is very quick and can be quite impressive … some people like their eye-brows.
On the second one I shortened the exposure time to 1 second which worked much better with some of the dandelion still un-burned. Spray, light and click … with this result.
And then it all got a bit “What if …”
So, the dandelion was replaced with a strawberry … because strawberries and fire go together don’t they?
So what would go with the whole fire theme better than a strawberry?
A chilli of course!
A light bulb … why not … (wear a face shield though just in case it shatters!)
I have a feeling that I might be going through quite a lot of sanitiser in the next few weeks!
Again another quick word of warning … fire burns! This has come as a surprise to some people in the past but the general rule of thumb is that fire is hot and can spread if you are not careful. We are careful to keep everything as safe as possible, ceramic tile underneath to catch any burning drips, plenty of space around the subject so nothing to catch fire, a face shield to prevent personal damage and fire extinguisher close by.
And don’t forget to sanitise your hands!