The first tries at photographing fire can often end up being a frustrating experience. The main problem is that fire produces a lot more infrared radiation than light, and at the same time the light sensors used in most cameras are a lot more sensitive to infrared than light, but normal film is not sensitive to infrared! The compounded result of this is that most cameras will dramatically underexpose fire photos. As a starting place, I would suggest to expose about 4 stops more than what the lightmeter tells you, and go from there!

Flames and sparks

This dangerous-looking picture shows nothing more than a harmless barbecue fire, shortly before putting the meat on it!

Boy Scouts

They seem to have a particular liking for unnecessarily immense campfires. The severe blur of intentional motion adds to the spooky appearance of the assembly. They were moving anyway while singing, so why not add to the effect?


My schoolmates were more moderate when making campfires. I thanked them by not moving the picture.
A funny sidenote: The smallest person in this picture is the teacher!

Expensive fire

I reached in time to this place to make some photos, but unfortunately not to help in any way. This home was located at a beach, rather far from the city, and when the fire brigade finally arrived, they found only glowing embers. There were several propane bottles in the house, which made any attempts to get close foolhardy.


These are easier to photograph than most people think. Just mount the camera on a tripod, aim, open the shutter, wait for a few blasts, close the shutter, wind, repeat. Try different aperture settings. This is f/16. Opening more gives you brighter fire with less color, but soon the background smoke becomes problematic. A setting of f/8 may be optimal on ISO 100 film.

More fireworks!

This is at f/8, and includes a bit of the city.

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