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2nd Curtain Sync, anyone?

Shooting a charity firewalk. The charity is Kidscan, a child cancer charity. A super group to be able to support. Their contact details are in the image :-)

The photographic challenge was enormous. Enormous, what? Just roll up point the camera and stick the flash on automatic, right?


More complex than a dance theatre shoot, more intense than a wedding. And a bag load of fun.

The challenge was a techy thing. Technical – stay with me.

Photographing a firewalk.

The low ambient light pushes you to use a long exposure to be able to have anything in the image. People with hot feet pushes you to as fast a speed as possible. Ouch. Clash.

But there is a way. 2nd curtain synchronisation.

You set the exposure to, say, 2 seconds and then this 2nd sync thing kicks in. It’s a way of setting the flash so that it fires at the end of the exposure instead of the beginning which is the normal way. It means that you get the ambient light AND you get the faster moving person.

Even better, you get this ghost trail going on and a bit of a trail behind the person that shows the movement. The other part was timing the shutter press so that the flash went off 2 seconds later with the person somewhere on the coals. :-) Love it.

Not perfect and I think I can do better with capturing more of the person. I worked it all out in my sleep last night. But I have forgotten it this morning. That’s when you know you are learning; when it’s in your dreams

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