Photographs of fire and flames, like photographs in low-light situations, are difficult to capture. This is down to many factors such as the continuously changing nature of the flame, and the immense heat and light given off by it. The heat makes it difficult to get close, so a long distance lens must be used. Of course that is not ideal, but it is necessary. The bright light makes it difficult to capture images in which the background is also clearly visible. The flickering and changing nature of the flame make it difficult to find a spot to focus on.
In this photograph, using a relatively slow shutter speed, the flames have a blurred, softer appearance. There is a plate at the back because this photograph was taken during a havan, a Hindu tradition in which various things are put into a fire.
On the Hindu festival of Diwali, traditional earthen diyas are filled with oil and lit. But in recent years, easier options such as candles and tea-lights have taken over. They require less work to prepare, create less mess, and are actually less polluting, so their popularity is understandable.
The curvy, coloured pattern on the floor is part of a rangoli. A rangoli is a traditional Indian pattern drawn on the floor, before and during many festival celebrations, especially Diwali. Rangolis are symbols of the Hindu religion. They are thought to bring good fortune and prosperity to the house that they adorn, so people try to make them as attractive as possible. Vivid and vibrant colours are used to draw attention and to decorate the home.
Diwali, perhaps the most widely celebrated Hindu festival of all, is a festival of lights. One tradition that has survived to this date is that of Diyas. Diyas, which are small earthen bowls such as those in the photograph, are filled with oil and lit. The diyas, which are symbols of wealth and happiness, are then arranged all around the house. It is said that if your house is lit well enough, the Goddess of Wealth will visit your home on Diwali and bless you with prosperity. Thus, people make the effort of decorating and lighting up their houses with all sorts of lights and candles.
(Entered in The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenges: “Careful“, “Symbol“, “Warmth” and “Shadowed“)