Fire. It's what separates Man from the animals, warming our hearts, fueling our engines, propelling our species to fates greater than our mammalian brethren. It's also just really neat to look at, as proven by these 79 Shooting Challenge entries.

Winner - Need a Light?

I was going to shoot this anyway, and then when I saw the fire challenge I thought it would be the perfect idea. I took over 200 pictures of the lighter, some without fire, some with a streak of flame, and some with the full flame. Shooting a composite also allowed me to have multiple lighting points with just one flash; lighting from the side allowed me to catch some of the detail in the wind guard, which would contrast with the smooth lighter body. I then stacked the pictures in photoshop, to create the composite and added a median filter to give it a 'too perfect' look. Shot with Canon 7D, ISO640, 60mm macro, f/6.3, Manual Focus, 1/80 for streaks, 1/20 for flame.
-Matthew Taylor

Wyoming Forest Fire

There was a forest fire in Wyoming, close to where I am staying, so a friend and decided to go find a good place to shoot it. Here is a shot from the timelapse I did of the fire. 5D Mark II, 24mm f/1.4L II, 24mm @ ISO 1600, f/2.2, 12-Second Exposure
-Eric Hines

Hot Wheels

My son and I were trying to come up with ideas for this week's challenge and our original plan was to soak a miniature car in gas and light it on fire while having a fan blow on it to appear like the car is moving on fire. Well, after trying for several hours to get that shot, we just abandoned that idea and grabbed the brake cleaner. We used an old mirror as the for the reflective surface with great results.
-Chris McCready

Where There's Sparkler There's Fire

The shooting challenge this week was a good opportunity to use my new 105mm VRII Macro, what a lens! I was experimenting with taking pictures of flames, but eventually moved onto a sparkler I had bought recently. Nikon D90, 1/400 sec, f11, 105mm.
-Nils Rohwer

Nonpareil Marble

I was at a backyard BBQ last night, after a while we got a fire going and there was some kind of metal netting over the fire. I noticed that something interesting was happening to the flames as they came through it; I couldn't see what that thing actually was until I froze it in place with this photo. Nikon D2X, 24mm f/2 on non-full frame camera body = 36mm f/2 (actual), 1/1500, ISO 400
-Will Christiansen

Spicy Dinner

With a post on Facebook I discovered that a couple friends of mine were fire eaters and breathers. My girlfriend and I met with them after dark and started snapping. Tag teaming this was the best picture I shot. Taken with our D90 with the 50mm lens f/1.8 with an exposure of 1/60.
-Steven Unverzagt

Hot Wheels II

With this picture I wanted to accentuate the contour of a toy car by applying a wind tunnel-like method only with fire, to achieve this I used a simple lighter and sprayed it with an axe bottle, what made the fire extend. Special thanks to my girlfriend, who helped me! Canon T2i, Shutter Speed 1/1000 sec, f /3.5, ISO 3200, 18mm
-Diego Ramírez

Icy Hot

I have a Square Vase... so what I did was fill it with water inserted a Wick and froze it. then when it was frozen, I took a heating iron and melted a cavity around the wick, which I filled with melted candle wax... waited till dark and took 40 shots at various Tv's and this is what I came up with. It was shot with a Canon 60D, on a Manfrotto Tri-Pod with a 50mm Sigma 1:2.8 DG Macro...The Av was f:8 @ 1/500 sec. the ISO was 640, with a –1.3 Step. What I would have rather done was Burn something Really Really Big...But I live in a smallish town and they sort of frown on that sort of thing...
-Charlie Carroll


When I saw the idea of fire for the next photo challenge the first thing that popped into my head was the torches from Minecraft. I recently bought the game and ended up playing it for three days straight. I only stopped for fear of blood clots.
I made most of the blocks from papercraft patterns I found online. I had to make the torch paper model by hand in photoshop, making sure to give each pixel the right color by color sampling from screenshots. I also had a hard time making sure that the torch was proportional to the blocks, and I couldn't get quite the right angle.
I inserted a birthday candle into the paper torch and lit it up. I was able to take 4 photographs before the blocks burst into flames. This shot is the first one. The only editing done to this photo was an automatic adjustment to the white balance in adobe camera raw, and then resizing in photoshop.
Even though this photo contains things from Minecraft, I figure it is still within your contest rules because I actually got the block patterns from a third party site and Minecraft really only seems concerned with people stealing the software, not using Minecraft textures to make fun photos. Pentax K20D, f/4.5, 1/10 sec., 400 ISO, 58mm Lens/87mm equivalent
-Jon Crooks


Last week a friend of mine showed me a neat trick that involves heating and compressing the remaining alcohol fumes from a liquor bottle. I knew I wanted to try to capture that on capera for this week's shooting challenge. I used an old empty bottle of wine that I had lying around and fueled the flames with Jack Daniel's vapors. Canon 10D. Shutter speed 0"3 f/6.7 iso 1600
-Will Aisenberg


I was grilling with some friends and put a few too many coals on the bbq. Well, I happened to get an HTC thunderbolt recently and love the camera. So I decided to play with it and take some shots of the flames pouring out of the grill. I think it's pretty damn impressive for a cellphone camera. Only lost a few arm hairs in the making of this shot! HTC thunderbolt, ISO 200
-Russ Apotheker


Thanks to everyone for participating this week. If we learned anything from this week's Shooting Challenge, it's that when you want to create a life-threatening but visually impressive flame, the answer is brake cleaner. Find the full galleries below and the wallpaper-sized shots on flickr.

Mark Wilson is the founder of Philanthroper, a daily deal site for nonprofits.