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February 18, 2010 / Steve

Day 49 – Fire Streak

Recently I was fixing a drain, and spotted a pack of votive candles. I remember thinking, “these will come in handy for the project at some point”. With no great ideas or inspiration today, I went for the candles. Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do, even as I was lighting them up.

My favorite thing about this project is that I’m constantly discovering that sometimes you have to just stop thinking and start doing, relax and let it flow. It’s very gratifying to “discover” a picture like this, even though it’s technically not perfect and probably lots of others have done something similar. I still really dig this one. The first shot I got that resembled today’s picture was actually a mistake. As it turns out, that “oops” was the inspiration.

Creativity seems to find you sometimes when you least expect it. I had been trying to force a great idea for hours. When I gave up, this happened. Go figure…

The Setup:
I set 6 votive candles on a piece of black posterboard (as a base) flush next to a mirror in one of our bathrooms. For complete darkness, I closed the door and turned off the lights, having only candlelight to work with. The mirror helped to double my efforts since I only had some many of these things to work with.

As a started taking pictures, I noticed the shutter needed to be open for 4 or 5 seconds to get a decently lit exposure. Since it’s impossible to hold exactly still for that long, and I was feeling too lazy to set up a tripod, I decided to just go with it and see what I could do with movement. The shutter was open for 4 seconds, so basically all I did was:

  • Start counting when I pressed the button
  • Hold still for about 3 seconds
  • Slowly point the camera downward using a curve to create something other than a straight line

I shot maybe 30 pictures, and ended up with 4 candidates. As always, Susan helped me pick the winner. For some reason, it seems like I am really bad at that part.



Leave a Comment
  1. Marilyn / Feb 19 2010 11:54 AM

    Hi Steve You always had a great imagination and now it is giving us these great pictures. Can’t wait to see what is coming next. Marilyn

  2. Dave / Feb 21 2010 8:43 PM

    excellent…even though you’re moving, it must still require a steady hand for the light to be smooth right?

    • Steve / Feb 21 2010 9:43 PM

      Thanks Dave. Yep, it’s pretty tough to get smooth lines, but it’s kind of fun trying. Probably wouldn’t work well after coffee.

  3. Kim / Mar 4 2010 9:59 PM

    Very cool Steve–I know exactly what you mean–by just relaxing- creativity just comes–I think we often try to over think things–we should just allow our mind to clear at times.

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