Saturday, August 13, 2011

44/365: Roll over

44/365: Roll over, originally uploaded by riekhavoc.

Tonight was the night to have another go at the ellusive smoke shot. I did my research, and found a great online tutorial which I followed as closely as possible.

The set up was basically a couple yards of black fabric pinned to a wall and then draped over a table, with the incense on the table. My camera was set to something like ISO 200, f/10, 1/160th second, and the flash was set at full power, 90 degrees from the camera, pointed (and snooted with dark cardboard) directly at the smoke.

One thing that was hard was getting the off-camera flash positioned so that it illuminated the smoke without hitting the backdrop or leaking into the camera. Max was very helpful with this! There was a lot of "move it one degree clockwise" to get it good enough.

Of the 60 or shots I took, only maybe 6 were in focus, with a truly black background, etc etc. Once the flash battery died, I started editing. Basically, you run up the black and lower the contrast until you've got as much pure black as possible, without losing depth in the smoke. Then, take it into PS and invert and use a gradient layer style. Finally, I brought it back into LR to do some minor adjustments to exposure (burn out some spots that weren't fully white). This is the final result. I'm quite pleased! This is harder than it looks...

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