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I primarily document sideshow circus acts, live concerts and fire performers. This image of the troupe's founder Tom Hill breathing fire has a unique twist of Tom splitting the flame with his hand to create a heart shape plume. The title is inspired by a Burning Man radio program of the same name.
For nighttime fire acts I push my ISO to 6400, set to auto focus, use a monopod with a cable release, shoot manually in sports mode for rifling off a quick burst of frames assuring the precise moment the subject and fire are at their optimal exposure and composure. My manual settings are metered down leading up to the right moment due to the dynamic change in light from wick to blast.
Even at the best exposures, the dynamic range is so broad that I have developed a standard combinations of settings in Lightroom to suss out detail in the highlights, remove artifacts in the dark solid backgrounds plus assuring clarity, contrast and detail. It is a sort of manual HDR workflow.
I have no hesitation using any necessary Lightroom tools touching up my finished work because shooting performances, concerts or other similar events, I face every disadvantage and obstacle. My priority in the field is focus and framing. Photographing fire is tricky and it has taken me years of practice to find a workable approach. Still to this day much bracketing is required.