As I've mentioned in previous blogs I like a photographic challenge and this one fired my imagination after I’d seen a couple of interesting pictures in an article and I couldn't work out how they’d been taken. So despite the article repeatedly mentioning ‘patience’ as being a key element for the task, I had an hour to spare (actually I was distracted away from what I should have been doing) and my carbon suspension was burning merrily in the corner of the room.
|Who's watching over you?|
Now it is fair to say that my suspension probably contained a lot of other particulate material as it was a fairly obnoxious incense stick, but it burned slowly and with a consistent stream of pale grey smoke.
Smoke is a fairly complex substance and even Leonardo Da Vinci (c1480) made comment and compared black smoke (carbon based), with white smoke (water based). I can only presume my grey smoke was a combination of the two.
And so the challenge began with choice of background, lighting methods and the best camera settings to use. It was a surprise as to just how fast the smoke moved and there were several obstacles to overcome, not least getting the pattern of smoke where I wanted it, to achieve anything like a good result.
Ventilating the room (a total must) created drafts and eddies and allowed excess light in through the doorway; focus points moved and I abandoned the tripod quite quickly; and then there was the need to light the smoke trails.
But a quick hour resulted in a couple of nice piccies – but maybe this is one challenge I will only task my more advanced students with!