Like a Photographer to the Flame

It was a rare occasion: Phyllis and I were enjoying a quiet, candle-light supper with all kids going down gently. I looked at the candle and the reflection of the flame, and couldn’t resist photography (sometimes Phyllis refers to my camera as the third party in our marriage).

Technical issues:

  • Not getting wax on the macro lens
  • Balancing the photo for candle light
  • Dealing with the difference between the bright flame and its dark surroundings

You are on your own when it comes to staying wax free. In terms of color temperature, my Nikon D200 set the auto white balance at 3900 degrees Kelvin. For me, this was mush too blue, so I pushed it up to 6900 degress when converting from the RAW. To deal with the exposure range, I opened the RAW image twice, once exposed for the flame and once for the background. One of the RAW images was placed on top of the other as a layer. Next, I used a layer mask and the Photoshop paint brush tool to paint in a nice exposure for the flame from the layer beneath while leaving the background exposure intact.

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