Sugar and Smoke

While taking pictures of smoke proved to be a lot of fun, I initially set out to do more with the smoke displayed in my earlier post. As the smoke traveled upward, an object placed above to disturb the path might be interesting. After obtaining a spoon from the kitchen and fixing the handle to a box to elevate it above the smoke, I placed the box next to the plume. As the stream of smoke rose it filled the spoon, spilling around the sides and continuing in it's original direction.

Once I was done taking the pictures, I simply cropped out the box supporting the spoon and rotated the picture 180 degrees. The two samples below are actually viewed upside-down.

The result from the first example above turned out well, so I thought I'd mix things up a little and try a setup where I wouldn't need to turn the picture upside down. Over the weekend I used a similar setup from the shoot above and while sitting beside the box supporting the spoon, I poured sugar over the cereal with one hand, and fired the remote shutter release with the other.

It was difficult to aim the sugar over the spoon in the dark, so it took a few tries to get some good ones. I'll probably redo these in a couple weeks and change the lighting setup so the cereal is brighter. Until then, here's what I came up with below.


I don't know what it is about photographers' equipment nicely arranged in a picture that draws me to it. I've always been interested in the various assortment of camera gear other people use. So maybe there are others out there who would like to see what I use. I took this image yesterday using my wife's camera.

The equipment in my hands most often are the Pentax K10D attached to a 43mm f/1.9 Limited FA Pentax lens, and an AF-540 FGZ flash. I use various filters, and all the lenses in the photo above have filters attached to them.

Photographing Smoke

For my first post on my first blog I thought I would discuss a recent photography project: Photographing Smoke. This was the first time I've tried to photograph something like this indoors. I set up my studio in the dark late at night and set up my wireless flash (AF-540 FGZ) to the left of the subject. The smoke was produced by a single stick of burning incense.
The problem with my set-up caused light to spill on my backdrop. I shoot with the K10D, so I don't need a hot shoe remote to trigger the flash. Instead, the wireless flash is controlled by the in-camera flash. Because the wireless flash required my in-camera flash to fire, extra light showed up in my photos (even though I had a card in front of the in-camera flash to block the subject from the light). You can see this in the example below. After going back to the drawing board I doubled the size of my backdrop, allowing me to double the distance of the smoke from the backdrop. Then I placed the flash in a small white box to effectively direct all the light toward the subject. Again covering the in-camera flash with a card I was able to produce much better results the second time around. I call this one Pregnant Woman: This is one of my favorites from the shoot: