‘What would you normally be doing now?’
‘Sitting in my bedroom looking at Youtube or playing Minecraft.’
‘Would you rather be doing that?’
‘No, I’d rather be here.’
In this case ‘here’ was at the top of Coombe Hill in Buckinghamshire at the monument to commemorate the Buckinghamshire soldiers who were killed in the Second Boer War. In was dark. It was raining. It was mild, but getting colder.
Four pupils, an art teacher, assorted parents (some with dogs), and me.
We played music. We danced with sparklers. We burnt wire wool. We photographed the lights of the town below us. I lost my car keys!
Then we tried something new.
The purpose of all the photographs we’d taken to that point was to sort out the technical issues as we’d only get one chance.
We chucked a few things around to make sure that our ‘safe zone’ was really safe, then we moved back some more and zoomed in, focussing on a torch left lying on the ground.
So, all the kid’s cameras were sorted out. They were bolted to a variety of tripods. At 400 ISO, we’d found that about 4 seconds at F11 gave us the exposure, and more importantly the ‘look’, that we were after.
The new thing that we were photographing was someone (the art teacher) skipping. Just that, a long exposure shot of someone skipping. Of course, the skipping rope was unlikely to show up in the dark, so we doused it in paraffin and set fire to it with a blow torch. (Perhaps a strange Christmas present for a fourteen year old boy, but as that’s what his mum bought him, we fired it up.)
The resulting shot – Girl On Fire!