Featured Photographers

Steward Ellett & Ian Bamber

SMOKE BUT NO MIRRORS
As ever both Ian and I are always looking to try new things out in photography. Although photographing smoke trails is not new, it is for us and that is what counts.
It was Ian that did much of the initial work in finding out the basics of what was needed to have a go at getting some nice final images.
The setup is quite simple and not much equipment is needed.
You need a flash gun – a barn door flash attachment (home-made will do) – A hot shoe trigger for remotely firing the flash gun – Black background – small table – incense sticks and of course a camera and medium lens.
After initial problems with making sure the background was not illuminated by the flash and getting the subject to background distance sorted, we were off.
The great thing about doing smoke photography is that each image is unique, and with patience you can get some really stunning patterns. The coloured smoke images were not done in PS (apart from image 7 to give you an example) but by using gels to colour the flash. The patterns were achieved by gently wafting the air in various ways to get the smoke to swirl.
Ian and I had really good fun spending a morning with a pack of incense sticks. The only downside was that after we smelt like a couple of 1960’s flower power hippies.
The images themselves need no description just enjoy the complex patterns that can be produced
Image 3 is an example showing how you can produce colour changes by using Photo-Shop techniques. In this case we used the ‘invert’ tool.