Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Carbon Suspension

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.
Rose Garden
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. 
The proposal
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!

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