260. Your Own Personal Indoor Bonfire
I've always hated josh sticks. Horrible, dirty, smelly things, polluting the air where you least want it polluted, inside your house. It amazes me that in an age where smoking is increasingly socially unacceptable, setting light to a stick of solidified crud and leaving it to smoulder in your living room is considered a cool thing to do. I'm sure that it's only a matter of time before papers are published demonstrating a link between these indoor bonfires and lung cancer. And surely there's a fire risk in having your own little table top tinder box.
I do seem to be in quite a minority with this view though. One person that thinks they are nice is Lin. Though due to the strength of my feelings she rarely lights them. Tonight was an exception. I burned our dinner which made the house smell, so Lin had her d.i.y. arsonists kit out as quick as a flash to try and mask the smell of my kitchen mayhem. I thought that was penance enough, but I decided that it would make a good photo. I struggled in vain for ages to get a decent shot. So long in fact that I voluntarily ended up lighting two more of these wretched things. That's dedication to the photoblog cause. Never again.
I really did struggle to get anything at all. The trouble is trying to capture the smoke. I'm now full of admiration for those old film-noir makers who filled every scene with beautifully lit billowing smoke. If anyone knows how to take such a shot properly I love to know. The trouble is, it needs to be light enough to catch the smoke but the four ways that I know of doing this all have massive drawbacks.
1. Increase the level of light in the room - but that means we loose the glow from the embers.
2. Open the shutter wider, but that narrows the depth of focus to a point where the smoke swirls are just a foggy mess.
3. Take longer exposures - but the smoke moves about and loses its form.
4. Ramp up the ISO (this is what I settled for) - but this produces a grainy noise filled picture.