Wildfires are still raging across the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. The skies look surreal, making San Francisco look like Blade Runner. To show what it’s like to fly in the flaming red skies, San Francisco International Airport shared a timelapse video of an airplane taking off from one of its runways. And it looks like it wasn’t taken on this planet.
There are multiple wildfires burning in California right now. The one in El Dorado, burning near Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, was reportedly caused by a smoke bomb. Cal Fire confirmed in a press release that the fire was caused at a gender reveal party, and it has burned over 12,000 acres so far.
I have used an electric cigarette as a small smoke machine. My first version was bit and pieces glued together but that wasn’t very robust and broke. No that I have a 3D printer I wanted to revisit this project and make it properly.
Smokers can suck smoke to their lungs and blow big clouds of smoke. I’m not a smoker myself so that will only end up in coughing. So I wanted to reverse the operation and directly blow air into the cigarette and get smoke out directly. This way I also get great precision where the smoke goes, much more than with traditional smoke machines.
I’ve used smoke machines on shoots indoors before, and they never end up looking quite the way I expect. Thanks to this video from Gavin Hoey, though, I think I now know why. Obviously, I was using the wrong kind of smoke. In the video, Gavin shows three different liquids that can be used to create smoke, when and why you might want to use one over another, as well as how to light them.
Low lying fog can be fantastic for those creepy photo shoots, especially out on location. Or, perhaps you’re trying to recreate the look of a particular 80s pop music TV show. Whatever your reason, low lying fog often works much better than a more elevated smoke-filled atmosphere choking your subject.
There are several ways of creating smoke for your photos and videos. Caleb Pike from DSLR Video Shooter will show you how to make an awesome smoke effect for your photos and videos. It’s not always easy to control the smoke, no matter the way you make it. But Caleb’s method makes the smoke easy to distribute and control. What’s more, it’s cheap and requires only two props: baby nose sucker and hand-held vaporizer. Sounds bizarre, but it works like a charm.
When creating images its always good to add some extra details just to keep things interesting. I recently shot a cover feature for alternative lifestyle magazine, Proper eye candy, with Madison Phoenix.
The plan was to shoot some moody images using gels. I also wanted smoke, but alas, at the time I didn’t have a smoke machine. So my plan was to fake it afterwards in Photoshop. One of the images also featured Madison smoking a cigar. Now if you have ever been in a small confined room with a lit cigar, you will know it isn’t the best of situations. Slowly you begin to choke in a dark haze of tobacco smoke. Something I didn’t really fancy….or the weeks of lingering smell afterwards. So again I decided I would fake it, by adding the glow of a lit cigar later in Photoshop. I know, I know, I am a big faker, but oh well……I like my lungs and the scent of fresh air in my studio.[Read More…]
Something I’m going to be touching on today is referred to in the painting world as “Aerial Perspective”, a way, if not “the” way to create depth in your images. When you see pictures of mountains, or landscapes you’ll often notice that they are coated with fog, clouds, smoke, steam, etc in order to make the background appear further away.
Adding shafts of light to your photos in post is pretty common, but doing it in camera is even easier. All it takes is a little know how and maybe a smoke machine.
In this video from The Slanted Lens, Jay P. Morgan walks us through the whole process. He talks about the advantages of continuous lights vs. flash and other issues you may run into.