That’s right. I’ve decided to do a series of daily photographs capturing smoke trails. It’s a challenge in lighting, set up, creativity and focus. In addition, there is an element of the capture that you can’t control: the smoke trail.
So I’m setting out over the next few days to see what I can learn with planning and preparation…as well as waiting and patience to see what will show up.
Although this is my second attempt at shooting smoke trails, the first attempt was even more makeshift and a last minute idea. I only had one light and a candle. This time I was a bit more prepared with two lights and incense. The incense definitely gives you longer lead time to capture the smoke. And it was only $2.49 for a box of 40 at Whole Foods. Not a bad investment for hours of fun learning your camera and lighting!
I followed this tutorial with my setup, but since I don’t have a lightbox, I used a desk Ott-Lite instead and had my assistant (aka: reluctant daughter) hold it facing up. Reluctant assistant also held a video light shining directly at the smoke trails.
Once we got everything set up, I began to shoot on manual focus in one position. What I found though was that I really don’t like being tethered to one spot, so I took it off manual focus, went to auto and was able to move around and adjust as the smoke was moving and changing. Here are my favorite two shots from today…
Post processing was done in Photoshop following the instructions in the tutorial. I inverted the image, then added Kubota Actions Daily Multivitamin. After that, I adjusted the hue/saturation slightly, then sharpened the image. Added a copyright and we were good to go.
Specs: Nikon D50, 1/100 sec at f/3.2, ISO 800.
Manual: Page 17—Focus and Shoot.
Images: Looked at images on the tutorial of smoke trails.