In the past few months, we have been sitting under a blanket of clouds here on Oahu. About a week ago, my buddy Derek and I decided we were going to go out and shoot something that wasn't dependent on sunlight or clear skies. We decided that weʻd tie some thick twine around a branch and light it on fire in front of a waterfall.
The shot in this video was made at Mānoa Falls at around midnight. We hiked out with our packs on the well kept trail and arrived at the falls in less than half an hour. Earlier that day I went down to city mill and picked up some jute twine which we planned to use as the The reason we used twine is because its made of natural materials and wouldn't harm the environment after it was burnt. Surrounding the falls is a bamboo forrest, so finding a branch to tie on the twine was hardly an issue.
The key to creating this shot was balancing the light sources. Even with a full moon, the relative brightness of the torch flame was much brighter than the ambient light from the moon. I was very lucky that the Sony A7R III had such a huge amount of dynamic range. In the edit, you will see just how much detail I can pull from the shadows even with such an underexposed image.
If we had to do it again, some adjustments I'd make would include creating smaller flames so that the discrepancy in ambient and artificial light wasn't so great. I would also trade off having a little more noise for faster shutter speeds. As you'll see, it is very difficult to stand still even for as little as 5 seconds. I would definitely want to try shooting at a higher ISO in order to increase my shutter speed and reduce the possibility of excessive motion blur.
Gear used to create example shot:
Sony A7r III - https://amzn.to/2rGoMtG
Canon 24mm 1.4L II - https://amzn.to/2rHnheX
Metabones EF Lens to E-Mount - https://amzn.to/2IiEJjY
Vello Wireless Trigger - https://amzn.to/2Iix418
Davis & Sanford Tripod - https://amzn.to/2KnPHl7