Nikon home projects part 2: Capture smoke effects

    By | Nikon DSLR Tips | Photography Tutorials | Tutorials | 02/05/2013 10:00am
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    Is the weather too bad for shooting outside? Are you looking for new photographic ideas that you can try at home with your Nikon D-SLR? Then why not follow our ten-part series of Nikon home projects?

    In part 2, we show you how to create and photograph elusive but beatiful swirls of smoke. These can make the perfect subject for amazing abstract photos, especially if you tweak the colours in post-production.

    Nikon home projects - smoke swirls

    The beauty of this fun and simple technique is that you don’t need lots of swanky equipment and you can easily set it up in the comfort of your own home. All you need is some black cloth to act as a backdrop, a flashgun that can be positioned off your SLR and an incense stick. The art is to capture the swirls and spirals of smoke as they rise from the incense. Here’s how it’s done…

    01 Back to black

    Use a black cloth as a backdrop – velvet is ideal. Position an incense stick about 12 inches in front of the cloth. To light the smoke, position an off-camera Speedlight to one side. Connect this via a cable or remote trigger. Be careful to avoid lens flare.

    02 Action!

    Set your SLR’s focus to manual and the aperture to f/8. Use a pencil in the path of the smoke to set your focus point. Adjust the flash until the lighting looks right. Use your LCD display to assess this. Fan the smoke to create patterns and shoot lots.

    03 Abstract shades

    Open the final shot in Photoshop CS or Elements. Go to Layers > Adjustment Layers > Gradient Map and either choose one of the presets or create your own scheme using the gradient editor. Here we’ve inverted the image and added a subtle tint.


    See also:

    Nikon home projects part 1: Create amazing light trails

    Posted on Thursday, May 2nd, 2013 at 10:00 am under Nikon DSLR Tips, Photography Tutorials, Tutorials. You can subscribe to comments.

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