In the purest sense, NaNoWriMo is not going too well for me. I reached 15,000 words pretty quickly and then stopped. I’m not unhappy with that–it’s 15,000 words more than I started with. And as words go, they’re pretty good ones with plenty of potential.
However, to keep up the creativity, I decided to shoot a Christmas still life like I did last year:
I ran across this tutorial on 500px ISO about using sparklers in glass jars. It looks amazing and seemed doable so I thought I’d give it a go.
I decided to set it up in my garage because it’s entirely concrete and thus fire-proof. Great decision number 1.
I also brought along the fire extinguisher I keep in my kitchen and put a bucket of water nearby as well, just in case. Great decision number 2.
This was the set-up I decided on:
I reused the glass reindeer from last year because I quite like it. I went to a dollar store for the decanter and wine glasses because the tutorial mentioned that the heat from the sparklers could cause the glass containers to crack and I didn’t want to break anything expensive. Great decision number 3.
It turned out to be really difficult to get the sparkler bits in the bottom of the decanter to ignite. I tried various things–varying the amount of sparkler bits, dropping in lit matches, using a taper. I think the main issue was the shape of the bottle. Anyway, it took a long time but eventually I got it to light.
That’s when it went wrong.
Instead of the delicate spray of sparks bouncing off the interior of the decanter, I got this:
That’s right. I accidentally created a homemade blowtorch that went off with a very unsettling roar. Like any good photographer, I kept my finger on the shutter while I panicked about what to do. My first thought was to grab the fire extinguisher but all the fire was enclosed by glass, which was less than helpful.
Fortunately…? a moment later the decanter exploded, showering glass everywhere and setting fire to the backing fabric:
Of course, that meant the fire extinguisher would be effective so I got things under control pretty quickly.
All in all, this shoot did not go to plan. However, I persevered through the ensuing clouds of smoke to get the shot of the wine glasses and with a bit of work in post, I ended up with this:
It’s a bit different to the image I’d originally planned but it’s got a certain drama that I quite like. Overall I’m pretty happy with it. Maybe don’t try this at home, though, kids.