Saturday, January 3, 2009

Playing With Smoke

When I first started getting into photography, I found a couple of blog entries on photographing smoke. I was anxious to try this out, but I didn't have a flash that I could use off-camera... until now.

This image, I created a grid overlay in Gimp as well as colored the smoke with a gradient.

Smoke Art (by John Brainard)

In this image, I duplicated the smoke layer and flipped it horizontally. I was surprised that it resulted in a very serious looking girl!
Smoke Art (by John Brainard)

A few things I'll try the next time I photograph smoke:

  • Shoot further away from the smoke than I was to capture larger patterns.
  • Shoot a larger quantity of images
  • Try burning two incense sticks together
If you look at Steve Paxton's smoke art, you'll see that the smoke starts and stops within the image. This is likely the result of using a snooted flash. I'll try to get a tighter beam of light next time and use a larger black background.

I learned that this is better done in a room you're not going to spend a lot of time in after you shoot the smoke, unless you like the smell of incense!


Steve said...

Good job John! Keep up the great work. I wish you and your family all the best in 2009.

John Brainard said...

Thanks Steve!

Your smoke tutorial was very helpful in figuring out how to photograph smoke. I hope to get some more later. I have some light stands, umbrella and a reflector coming, so I'm looking forward to seeing what impact the reflector has on the pictures.

I wish you and your family the same for 2009!

Craig Lee said...

Very nicely done, John. I particularly like the mirrored one. I haven't tried that with my smoke shots yet, but is definitely something to keep in mind for the future.

Anonymous said...

Really like this. :)

Me :P

John Brainard said...

Me too... Too bad it causes my room to stink like incense for a couple days!

Someone in Church told me they make a pine scented incense. I'll have to try and find some.

Kris said...

very cool stuff! I really like it John!