Fire has always played an important part in the history of mankind. Many historians will agree that fire is one of the major inventions of man, as well as the invention of the wheel.
In Ancient Greece, Heraclitus held that fire is the primordial element out of which everything else arises. Fire is the origin of all matter; through it things come into being and pass away. Fire itself is the symbol of perpetual change because it transforms a substance into another substance without being a substance itself:
“This world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made; but it was ever, is now, and ever shall be eternal fire.
Fire lives the death of air, and air lives the death of fire; water lives the death of earth, earth that of water. Measures of it kindling and measures of it going out.” (Diogenes Laertius)
I believe that without fire our planet would cease to exist. Sunlight is Earth’s primary source of energy. I’m talking about the energy that our planet receives from the Sun, which is in a certain way, “a huge ball of fire”. The energy of the sun is produced by nuclear fusion which converts hydrogen into helium.
Solar energy can be harnessed by a variety of natural and synthetic processes—photosynthesis by plants captures the energy of sunlight and converts it to chemical form (oxygen and reduced carbon compounds), while direct heating or electrical conversion by solar cells are used by solar power equipment to generate electricity or to do other useful work. The energy stored in petroleum and other fossil fuels was originally converted from sunlight by photosynthesis in the distant past.
In a recent foray into USMA University’s campus, I was able to capture the activity of a small fire through a series of photographs. The images display how small flames transformed dry grass into smoking ashes. It was fascinating to observe the process of a small fire transforming a physical material such as grass, into ashes while releasing heat and smoke.
I followed the wobbling path of the small fire for about fifteen minutes. I never thought in my wildest imagination, I would be involved in taking snapshots of fire. Indeed photography opens up a new world before you. Photography teaches you to look and see what is out there. It impulses you to discover new things—it makes you feel alive.
Below are several pictures of a small fire that caught my attention a few days ago at the premises of the USMA University in Panama City, Panama. Here we go.
Photograph of a suburban part of Panama City at dusk. On the bottom left hand corner of the image, you will notice the smoke and flames of a small fire. (Credit: ©Omar Upegui R.)
Photograph taken from the opposite direction of the sun making the fire scene more visible. (Credit: ©Omar Upegui R.)
Scene of a small fire spreading through a patch of grass near the USMA University in Panama City, Panama. (Credit: ©Omar Upegui R.)
Smoke, this is a by-product of fire that I was interested in capturing. (Credit: ©Omar Upegui R.)
Smoke over the fire scene was like a soft mist. (Credit: ©Omar Upegui R.)
Image that depicts how fire transformed dry grass into ashes of different shades of black. (Credit: ©Omar Upegui R.)
The wind was blowing in my direction and a transparent veil of smoke covered the entire fire's scene. (Credit: ©Omar Upegui R.)
The hobby of photograph has taught me to keep my eyes open and be curious. There are wonderful things happening around us that we generally don’t see.
“Anyone who starts photography seriously quickly discovers how it develops their ability to see. In other words, not just taking familiar scenes for granted, but noticing with much greater intensity all the visual elements—shapes, textures, colors and human situations—they contain.” This time it was the wobbling path of a baby fire. Good Day.
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