As soon as I heard that we were doing the Classic Elements for the month of July over at SPC, I knew what I wanted to do for 'Fire.'
I was inspired to do this one by this photo that I found on Flickr.
[EDIT -- 07/30/2007]
For those who may still be interested, here's how I did this shot:
The main trick (as revealed by the 'inspiration/idea photo linked above) was using a power drill to spin the bent sparkler (my drill wasn't cordless, but I had plenty of cord length).
To turn it into a self portrait, I had to do some experimenting with my camera. I finally found that I could get the extremely long exposure that I needed for this shot with the 'bulb' exposure on manual mode and then I had the flash (Speedlight SB-400) fire just as the shutter was about to close (rear curtain synch).
With the camera on a tripod, I opened the shutter (using a wireless remote), lit the sparkler, walked backwards with the drill running slowly until the sparkler ran out, then walked back up to the camera to close the shutter and stood so that I would appear in the corner of the frame when the flash fired.
I had four long-burning sparklers. The photo I ended up using was the fourth try. The first two, I barely showed up as a ghostly form. The third, I tried to position myself in the corner of the frame, but the flash wasn't strong enough. The fourth, I boosted the power on the flash and got the final shot.
The version on Flickr is completely untouched, straight out of the camera (EXIF details are viewable), the one that appears here, I just nudged contrast up a bit and brightness down a bit.