[Hooping.org guest author Drew Martin, the Hooposophy husband of Lara Eastburn, gets us set to shoot better night hooping photos.]
By Drew Martin
Think you have to be a pro to capture great pictures of your LED and fire hoop dancing? Nah. The images of swirling color galaxies you dream about creating yourself are actually kinda simple. That is, as long as you understand a few basics of that time old tradition of photography and a lil’ bit o’ physics. Don’t worry, it isn’t the math side of physics. You’ve got this. Here is a step-by-step guide to doing your night time hoop dance some justice on film. First, let’s start with your camera. Not your phone, that’s a phone. Find a big grown up camera to play with, or at least a small light proof box whose sole purpose is to bend and capture light. Film or digital, it does not matter. The principles will be exactly the same.
Your camera captures light in two different ways – aperture and shutter speed. Aperture is the size of the hole that the light is allowed to pass through. It either adds a dimension to a photograph by blurring the background, or magically brings everything in focus. It is described on cameras as the F-Stop. It has number designations (1, 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, and so on; some pinhole cameras even have an F-Stop of 256). But what does it all mean? These numbers tell you how small the hole will be while shooting your photo. The larger the F number, the smaller the hole will be. For instance, f1 is twice the size of f1.4, which is in turn twice the size of f2, and so on.
Shutter speed is exactly what it says it is – the speed of the shutter. It’s all about how long the curtain will remain open. Most of the time your shutter will be set for shooting in the daylight, or with a flash. When you take these pictures the shutter is open for only a fraction of a second. To get the images we want, however, the killer night hooping photography that we see and love so much, we need the shutter to stay open longer, on the order of a few seconds to possibly even tens of seconds. This extended time allows the light from the fire or LED hoop to burn onto the imaging medium. Think of it like a movie. You are shooting a 3 to 5 second movie, but instead of having several hundred frames of individual, sequential points of light or video, they are all stacked together into one image, one photograph.