<<< o >>>the movement of light #3 37 comments + add yours

At the risk of boring you all, here's one more of my recent smoke shots, and while I still think that yesterday's is my favourite of the three, this one comes a close second.

Tomorrow, assuming I manage to shoot anything worth sharing, I'll put something different up.

shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
9.58pm on 12/10/06
Canon 20D
EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM
C1 Pro
1x1 + abstract [smoke]
comment by Shervane at 08:34 PM (GMT) on 15 October, 2006

Wow! That one is really cool! So dynamic! It's hard to belevie, that it is just a smoke! Great!

comment by Alistair - Digiphotology at 08:59 PM (GMT) on 15 October, 2006

Hi Dave, these are fascinating images with endless possibilities.

comment by Steve at 08:59 PM (GMT) on 15 October, 2006

David, These shots are quite somthing. I was inspired to try some of these myself. They came out fairly good considering I don't have an external flash yet. I have a question though: Are some of these shots done with more than one joss stick? Are they large? It seems that the images you have has a very narrow transition from light to dark at the "highlights" so to speak. Just wondering if this has anything to do with the smoke thickness or what? When I tried these types of shots I coulsn't get nearly that good of a look.

comment by Darren at 09:09 PM (GMT) on 15 October, 2006

Another great image.
To me, this one looks like a rose.

comment by Elaine at 09:20 PM (GMT) on 15 October, 2006

I really like these - will have to try out the technique myself. Very Rorschach, aren't they? :)

comment by wesley hargrove at 09:40 PM (GMT) on 15 October, 2006

i love the complexity of this one. excellent job, dave.

comment by Ries at 09:59 PM (GMT) on 15 October, 2006

wow... another beautiful one!!! Great images these smoke shots.

comment by Iain at 10:09 PM (GMT) on 15 October, 2006

I think that you should mabye step outside your comfort zone. Are these anything more than technical exercises?

comment by Skenz at 10:32 PM (GMT) on 15 October, 2006

This is the best one! Why don't you try to keep the black background? It should be great! Really, it's a excellent job!

comment by djn1 at 11:16 PM (GMT) on 15 October, 2006

Steve: it's more to do with how I've used the Curve to adjust the contrast than the smoke itself.

Elaine: yes, they are :-)

Iain: for me, yes, but then I'm one of those people who can sit for hours in front of an open fire just watching the patterns in the flames. These images are a similar sort of experience. I do appreciate that they're not everyone's cup of tea though.

Skenz: all my efforts to retain the black background don't work out anywhere near as well as the ones that are inverted. I'll work on it.

comment by Anil at 11:39 PM (GMT) on 15 October, 2006

Although yesterday's shot is excellent technically I like today's the best. There is a sci-fi feel to it that appeals greatly to me. This woudn't look out of place in any modern science fiction film!

comment by mikelangelo at 12:33 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

This is my favorite of the 3. I think it's the most visually interesting. I prefer the gray tones over the colors of the other two. It seems more turbulant and yet, self contained than the other two. Really neat!

comment by Robert at 01:26 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

High-tech, hyperspace graffiti. I like the quicksilver tone.

comment by tim at 02:13 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

This one is very cool... sort of like looking inside Darth Vaders Head... I love the layered effect, it sort of has a strange depth to it.

comment by Geoff at 05:34 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

Yeah, I think I like today's best. It reminds me of some sort of bizarre Lurlique glass. And the colurs and great.

comment by Geoff at 05:36 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

considering the impossibility of an edit button, I suppose I'm just going to have to actually proof read my comments before I hit that post button aren't I. Anyone would get the impression that I can't spell. :)

comment by Ali at 06:09 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

it reminds me of terminator (the movie) ;) some sort of iron skull or something in there!

comment by Thomas Solberg / Project neXus at 06:59 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

Very surreal looking...and by that I mean cool :-)

comment by tony budge at 07:57 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

WOW. Awesome abstract. Until I read your image notes I assumed it was a liquid/fluid shot as the radomness and smoothness of the flow and textures is surreal. Very nicely done.

comment by Jennifer at 08:29 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

Verity and I have really enjoyed this series - she wants to have a go so thanks for the instructions!

comment by {-P-} at 08:50 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

Maybe what is missing to me is the flash... or is it the talent ? Very nice !

comment by Damien at 09:06 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

I visit your site everyday and mostly its great, but just one question when does photography stop being photograpy and become a computer generated image because i think you have stepped over the line on these last few shots, not that you cant do that after all its your site, im just wondering how you view the last few images of smoke as im sure the finished image looks nothing like that captured by the camera

comment by SteveO at 09:25 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

Cool, reminds me of a Strange Attractor.

comment by Jem at 09:57 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

I love the graphic feel of this shot Dave, and the colours too. Very nice!

comment by Hennie at 11:24 AM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

I adore these smoke shots - I remember those you did last time around - they are so fluid, yet detailed and quite unreal. Another fabulous example...

comment by Paul Courtney at 01:02 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

Hi Dave,
This one is my favourite of the lot. It reminds me of the Pillsbury Dough Boy (http://www.fromtheheartpostcards.com/ICQ/PillsburyDoughBoy.html).
I look forward to the more challenging black-background shots.

comment by KJM at 03:18 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

Thanks for providing some details about how you create these shots. One question that is left unanswered is how you create the movement in the smoke. Do you, for example, have the joss stick fixed off camera, disrupt the smoke with something, and then hope the resultant cloud wafts into view, or perhaps just wave the joss stick around in front of the camera to create a shape, then take the shot before the cloud wafts out of view?

comment by Amy at 03:47 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

Have you ever seem the movie Zoolander?
Because this is 'reall, really, really ridiculously good looking." I like this one better than yesterdays because it's shaped more abstractly, so to speak. The other one repeats itself a bit. I am always jealous of your smoke shots. :D

comment by mooch at 04:16 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

Um, um, um. I like the effect but is this one a little too busy perhaps? Just a smidge too much going on? I am dying to get round to this but haven't had the opportunity. It still looks very slick mind.

comment by Mark at 08:21 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

How come every time I get close to even understanding what you are up to in Photoshop you find something else I wish I had time to play with? Amazing shots !

comment by Christian Wiedel at 08:23 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

I think I like this one the best out of the 3. I'd love to see some desktop wallpapers done of these ones! I'd love to use it as my wallpaper! Very very nice!

comment by djn1 at 09:03 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

Thanks everyone.

Damien: for me, there isn't a clear line between photography and, say, computer art. Most of my images are quite heavily manipulated in one way or another, and often don't look much like the originals. But, to be honest, I'm often not terribly interested in the images that come out of the camera, it's their potential that holds my attention.

KJM: the joss sticks, for all three of these shots, were placed in a holder. The movement in the smoke was achieved in a variety of ways including nudging the table, putting my finger through the smoke, and blowing it.

Christian: yes, I should do some desktops at some point.

comment by Steve @ snapsequence at 11:14 PM (GMT) on 16 October, 2006

I've enjoyed seeing your smoke shots mkII, particularly as your first inspired me to go an try it myself (and coincidentally I put one on my blog 10 days ago.

Like you, I didn't find the process particularly easy at first and had an intention to revisit it (although I haven't yet got round to it!). Whenever I tried getting some movement into my smoke, I always seemed to end up with bright spots of ash.

As for your five - the curves you've applied to the latest 3 are awesome, particularly yesterdays - they look like liquid metal. However, as far as shape is concerned, the purity of Chaos Theory is very hard to beat.

comment by AirBete at 01:24 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2006

Classic subject, but very well done. Awesome.

comment by SeanMcFoto at 03:08 AM (GMT) on 17 October, 2006

Boring? Not a hope. Inspiring and artistic? Very much so.

comment by Gabe McIntosh at 07:00 PM (GMT) on 17 October, 2006

These are very interesting. It looks like a glass sculpture. How do you do these?

comment by ling at 03:55 AM (GMT) on 18 October, 2006

this is absolutely beautiful!

I have tried so many times to capture smoke details but I guess I've been doing it wrongly. Thanks for the tips. Will try using the tips you gave in yesterday's post.
Btw, I prefer this over yesterday's. I like the colour. Somehow it seems mysterious!