Photographing a belly dancer Part 3

A change of attire for a different mood–Getting different looks for their models is often a goal for photographers. It can be something as simple as letting their hair down and introducing a colored backlight. Here is the setup for the lights.

Before you tear down the set sometimes you have to ask yourself, “What else can I try? I’m already here.”

Everything is already set up. If you have time, you might as well push the envelope and see.

That’s what I really enjoyed about working with Hadia.

She was up for more.

When she produced the paraffin lamps, I was chomping at the bit.

Now we were literally playing with fire and turning up the heat.

If you’re trying this at home, and your model has long hair, have her tie it up for safety sake.

Playing with fire–Photographing these lamps proved to be more of a challenge than I anticipated. The flames were very intense in the first few minutes and then they die down rather quickly, so how do I determine exposure? In this instance, trial and error, I’m afraid. ISO 100 8 seconds aperture between f5.6 and f 11.

The Numbers

Photographing flames is a challenge for different reasons.

Unless the flames are burning gas or some sort of fuel that feeds constantly, your exposure tends to be quite erratic.

The fuel reservoir on the lamp didn’t hold much and it burned with a lot of intensity in the beginning then dissipates very quickly.

Try as I might I couldn’t get predictable results. The solution might have been to use a candle instead of a lamp.

As expected when the flames were roaring, I encountered more ghosting and a warmer color temperature, so shooting both RAW and JPEG gave me more options.

The downside? Of course there is a downside.

The camera took a lot longer to write to the card so I couldn’t shoot as quickly.

Since the flames died down pretty quickly, we had to refill the lamps often.

What was the right White Balance?–Apart from focusing and exposure problems, a good White Balance setting was tricky. When the shutter stayed open longer, there was also ghosting.

Have I taken this as far as I can?

Probably not, there’s always room for improvement.

Maybe you can suggest some.

2 thoughts on “Photographing a belly dancer Part 3”

  1. Hello Jeff,
    Thank you for visiting my blog. So, you like those festivals as well where everyone dresses up and they don’t mind being photographed.

    Thanks for your kindness.

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