When I heard that my good, old friend Erin was going to be in town visiting from her jungle paradise home in Hawaii, I knew I had to meet up with her. When she said that she was bringing her squeeze - who I hadn’t met over the years - as well as a ton of her fire stuff I knew we had to take some photos. Of course, I had to wait for them to get back from Burning Man first…
We met up at Seahurst Beach in Burien on a cloudy late afternoon. We were trying to beat the rain, and we ALMOST made it. Despite a small crowd of onlookers (and two guys with very fancy metal detectors) we poured out some white-gas, grabbed a lighter and got to it.
The challenge of shooting these two is mostly in the fact that they never stop moving. The art they practice is smooth and flowing. All you heard this day was the slight rushing of the waves and the subtle roaring of their little fireballs as they raced around their bodies. It’s actually really beautiful if you stop and just watch it for a while.
For my part, the camera needs to be fast enough that it freezes their motion, but not so fast that the fire disappears or doesn’t leave a trace of it’s path. It’s a balancing act and a technical challenge, something I love when taking photos.
Luckily for me, these two are pros. They have both been spinning fire, throwing things in the air - and catching them, and dancing for years. Once we were on the same page about what we were trying to accomplish and how to do it, things took off.
This being me, I had to try to get a couple in black and white. The weather, and the beach, and the idea that fire is so bright and the color and drama would be totally lost in a black and white photo made it a challenge I wanted to tackle. There might be some of the fact that it’s my first true love with photography as well, so there is always at least a couple of them in any shoot that I do.
It gets dark quick this time of year, especially with heavy, dark clouds moving in from the horizon. We were sitting on the beach, thinking of our next move, and watching a wall of rain come across the sound toward us. While this weather made for excellent backdrop, I knew I had little time. I wanted to try to bang out a couple of portraits of these two amazing people; they have plenty of pictures of them dancing, I wanted them to have at least one picture of just them as well.
That was about all the time we got. The rain didn’t start the way it usually does; with a trickle turning in to a steady, easy rain that you can walk through to your car. This rain came upon us like it had sucked up all of the water in the sound and wanted to drop it on us all at the same time. We had to scramble to cover up and put away my gear, and their gear, and trek it all off the beach under a constant, drumming downpour. It was crazy and stressful and hilarious.
I was bummed that this was all the time I got with these two. That’s how it goes sometimes when your friends are distributed around the globe, though. All told, the photos they got for their promotions and website were fantastic, the process was fun, and I learned a bunch of lingo I had no idea existed.
Mahalo, you two.