Juggling Fire

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I have photographed jugglers several times in the past for physics text books. I have been impressed with the level of skill some jugglers can obtain. It is difficult enough to juggle three balls, four is more difficult, and fire is a another story. When objects move in a circle they can undergo some fairly complicated motions. What would be the best way to show this motion in a still image?



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In this case the camera is panned by the juggler at a constant rate on a computer controlled pan head. When the juggler is about the center of the frame a flash is set off. The image shows both the flip the club does at the top of the throw and the uneven motion of the clubs as the juggler makes corrections to his throw as the motion is kept under control. This juggler is has been practicing for three years and is currently only 14 years old!

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This post was written by Ted Kinsman for Photo Synthesis.

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the hard part of juggling torches is that the end you can see is not the end you're supposed to catch...

Not that I'm a particularly good juggler, but I've always been told that juggling things on fire is the same as juggling them not on fire, except crowds are more impressed with fire :P

I hope I'm not giving away a magic secret here. I do love photos of fire juggling, poi, staff etc.

Actually, the fire adds drag to the torch, but just to one end of the prop, so the rotation isn't quite the same as, say, clubs or knives - torches fly much differently when they're lit, and the difference is very hard to describe in words.

BTW, they also give off a lot of heat, which wakes up a lot of ancient internal fear-type responses; dealing with this is also a necessary part of learning fire juggling.

By Jerry Martin (not verified) on 05 Nov 2009 #permalink

Not that I'm a particularly good juggler, but I've always been told that juggling things on fire is the same as juggling them not on fire, except crowds are more impressed with fire :P

I hope I'm not giving away a magic secret here. I do love photos of fire juggling, poi, staff etc.

thanks...nice post

Actually, the fire adds drag to the torch, but just to one end of the prop, so the rotation isn't quite the same as, say, clubs or knives - torches fly much differently when they're lit, and the difference is very hard to describe in words.

BTW, they also give off a lot of heat, which wakes up a lot of ancient internal fear-type responses; dealing with this is also a necessary part of learning fire juggling.