Smoke Project: The Shoot!

I MANAGED TO FIND the incense sticks, so yesterday I did the actual shoot. I changed my setup slightly (see below) so that my flash, the stick, and background were the correct distances from each other: -

Setup changed slightly

Setup changed slightly

Flash setting was on manual and set to 1/2 power. Diffuser flap was down to create a softer light as I didn’t want it too harsh. Camera was also on manual, ISO 100 (lowest possible), shutter speed 1/250 and aperture was f/8. I was then ready to shoot.

It was difficult to easily get focus on the smoke - you got to have patience for this! After about 60-odd shots, and a bit of post editing in Lightroom and Photoshop, check out the results…

It was a lot easier than I expected and I think they turned out pretty well. Going forward, I might try shooting with 2 incense sticks at once just to see what effect it has, or maybe some macro shots to really get right into the smoke.

I hope you enjoyed this brief series of posts. I may offer some of these as limited prints on a gloss or acrylic surface to get that razor sharp effect, so watch this space!

Smoke Project: The Setup!

IT TOOK SIX DAYS trying figure out how to sync the wireless triggers with my camera and flash.

After countless channel switching (so that the triggers are on the same frequency), recharging, Googling photography forums, altering camera settings, I finally sorted it.

I was using rechargeable 1.2v AAA batteries which I assumed were fine, but I swapped them for standard 1.5v. Even though the lights on the triggers were flashing (which means they’re on), there was not enough power to actually set off the flash. The 1.5v batteries did the trick!

Home-made snoot

Home-made snoot

Fixed

Fixed

After making the snoot, the next step was to slide triggers onto the hot shoe of my camera and flash, and attach a flash stand so that it wouldn’t fall over…

Neewer FC-16 transmitter attached to camera

Neewer FC-16 transmitter attached to camera

Neewer FC-16 receiver attached to flash and flash stand

Neewer FC-16 receiver attached to flash and flash stand

Now for the main setup…

Setup

Setup

It doesn’t look like much, but that’s basically all there is to it. I might add some more black paper to make a larger background (more coverage), but we’ll see how things go first.

Unfortunately I couldn’t remember where I put the incense sticks so couldn’t carry on with the shoot! I’ll have to carry on with it another week.

Stay tuned!

Smoke Project

I’VE DECIDED TO TRY and reinvigorate my love for photography. I need to try something new, so as not to go completely stale, and have a challenge to get stuck into.

This year I intend to start the “Smoke Project” - which is photographing smoke trails, specifically from candles and incense sticks. I’ve had the idea for years after seeing a tutorial online, but never got round to actually doing it. I have all the necessary equipment (see below), so just need to get my head around all the technical aspects of the setup.

Equipment!

Equipment!

Clockwise from top left: -

Nikon SB-600 Speedlight, candles, flash stand, rechargeable batteries, Neewer FC-16 wireless flash trigger with remote shutter, incense sticks, matches, Nikon D5500, cereal box. Yes, I get hungry sometimes. Haha, only joking. It’s actually going to be a “snoot” which will attach to the flash - this will make it easier to direct the light towards to smoke.

For now, that’s about it. I need to learn the setup and how to sync everything together (i.e the flash, remote sensor/trigger, camera) so that they work perfectly. It’s going to be difficult and I expect a lot of mistakes and things not working, but hopefully in the end it will be worth it.

Stay tuned!

Photoshoot: Natanael Cassiano - Actor

A FEW MONTHS AGO, I was asked to take some head shots for a friend of mine, Natanael. Finally, after a few back and forth conversations in trying to arrange a date, we scheduled a shoot for 14th November. This was to be my first client photo shoot, as I had never done anything like this before.

Meeting at the London Apprentice pub in Isleworth, West London, we had already discussed what type of shots Natanael was looking for so it was easy enough to get on with shooting straight away.

Thinking ahead, I wanted a few black and white shots, and I thought a plain/clean background would be best to get started.

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First few shots done, we moved around towards the river for a more interesting background. From here the shoot got a bit more challenging, as the sun was setting early and therefore less natural light was available. I left these following shots in colour, editing slightly to give a bit of warmth, contrast and vibrance.

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The sun now almost gone, we moved to Syon Park to try and get the last bit of available light.

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About thirty minutes after our meeting at the pub, the shoot was done! It was a quick “guerrilla-style” shoot (as Natanael called it), but we managed to get some decent shots in.

There were a few more ideas I had in mind… that’s why hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Natanael was great to work with. Very easy-going and relaxed, and willing to try different ideas. I would definitely want to work with him again if the occasion arises.