Not sure whether this one is “blog worthy” as Ken Bello would say, but I found it interesting enough to slip in. This was not Photoshopped with any filters or FX, just a little work in Lightroom. I’ll explain more if anyone is interested, otherwise we’ll just call it an abstract experiment.
A fiery sunset behind one of the bridge towers in downtown Wichita. Some people think the design of this pedestrian suspension bridge was overdone, overpowering the site with it’s tall dual towers. I find it pleasing and a favorite photographic subject that I am drawn to again and again. If nothing else, I know it looks very interesting in the fog, or with a spectacular sunset behind it.
To cap off the weeks festivities I offer the above, which in keeping with my esoteric yet subtle titling schemes, I like to call “Angry Ghost-Smoking”. And so ends a week of smoke.
Yet another variation using the same raw material as Day 3. I think this blue gradient on the black background might be my favorite of the bunch.
This one uses day two’s original as a starting point. There are so many possibilities with these abstracts, it’s difficult to know what works and what doesn’t. If I shoot more smoke I will have a little more light to work with so I can see what the smoke is doing and perhaps attain slightly more control.
This is a slightly different take than the last two days, with an inverted background changed to white. I could try and debate the artistic merits (or lack thereof) , but to tell you the truth I just thought it looked kind of cool, which is probably the only reason I ever post anything.
For the purists, this image has had very little work done in post processing. It was cropped, levels tweaked, and a little saturation added. To tell you the truth I’m not 100% sure where the little coloration you can see came from….the blue I suspect because the camera was still set to auto white balance and was giving me bluish smoke, but as for the gold color…..not sure. I think I’ll just consider it a bit of mysterious good luck for now.
It’s Smoke Art week at the Warped Prism. I’m not claiming it’s art, but that’s what they call this on the internet so it must be true right? This is something I’ve wanted to try for some time. This one looks to me like a person walking, leaning forward with a strong wind blowing their scarf from behind. But that’s just me. The original image was tipped on it’s side in Photoshop Elements, and then a color gradient layer added. Read on if you want a little more background on how to shoot the smoke to obtain your raw images. Stop reading if you are easily bored.
You’re really supposed to have an off camera flash connected to your camera for this technique, which I don’t have, so I had to improvise. I do have a late 1970’s vintage Vivitar flash unit that cannot be connected to my modern camera, however it does have a ‘test’ button which will trigger the flash even when not connected to anything. (Many years ago my nephew used this feature to run around outside my parents house at night, making them think there was a lightning-rich thunderstorm approaching, but that is a story for another day I guess – on second thought you probably had to be there.)
What is required is a darkened room, a black backdrop, a source of smoke (jumbo incense stick in my case), a bright, directed light source, and camera of course, best on a tripod. I set the camera on manual, and manually focused on a solid object temporarily placed where the smoke would be. I used an aperture of f/16 for most of these. My problem was the light source. Lacking an off camera dedicated flash, or studio flash, I figured the following might work, and it did. I used “B” setting on the camera, with my remote release in my left hand. I would trip the shutter with the left hand, then point my old Vivitar flash at the smoke and trigger it with my right hand, then allow the shutter to close. The flash duration was short enough that the smoke was frozen pretty well. You have to keep your light source from hitting the black backdrop, but also keep it from causing lens flares, flashing the smoke from the side is thus the best approach. I shot a gazillion, OK, a couple of hundred frames, and found quite a few with interesting shapes.
One thing I might do a little different next time is have a little more ambient light in the room….my room was so dark I couldn’t actually see what the smoke was doing, I was just firing blindly. I also might try and have a slightly larger backdrop, the black foam board I was using was just barely big enough. You’ve got to have some separation distance between the smoke and backdrop – in my case it was probably about 2 or 3 feet.
I’m planning on posting one of these a day this week, but without the long winded commentary. If you want to pursue this, just type “smoke art” into your search engine of choice, there is a lot of information out there.