After shooting the “smoke” from the mug, I realized that I could use the humidifier I had to up the ante. Here’s a look at the setup I used.

Staging Smoke


I needed a black background so I threw a robe over the back of the chair. I guess I could have gone and got some construction paper or poster board. I guess.

Initially I had the lighting set up to be very bright, with every light in the room on. I was also using my torch as additional lightning, which can shine at 800 lumens. I thought I was going to need the all the lights because I was planning to shoot at very high shutter speeds and I didn’t want to bump the ISO too much.

Eventually I realized that the torch was more than enough light, especially if I held it right over where I was shooting. I put the tin foil around the tip of the machine so that the light from the torch would reflect off the foil and light the smoke from beneath as well.


Now I was ready for the shoot. And here’s the first shot:

Bad Image -00344

In my defense, I shot this at a very slow .6s shutter speed because I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t going the wrong direction by upping the shutter speed.

Another problem was that the lighting from the torch was fading out the black background. You can see this in the top of these shots, which is washed out, hurting the contrast.

Bright Light -00346

I did get some  decent shots and the details aren’t bad but it wasn’t right. Plus with so much light on the robe, the fabric pattern was showing too much in these photos and it was distracting. We can really tell if I invert the colors.

Bright Light Inverted-00346

Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the background texture was going to be so distracting until later, so the next few photos I got using only the torch still had the issue. They look ok in black and white though.

For these shots I was up to 1/1000th of a second as my shutter speed. Aperture was at f/2.8 and ISO at 800.

Its Okay-00354

Its Okay BW-00354

Getting Better

Up to this point, I had the torch set up on a table nearby, pointing at the general direction of the smoke. I decided to try holding the light in one hand and shooting with the other. This meant I had more control over the lighting,  but I also had to shoot closer up. This turned out great because I got this next shot, as well as the title image which I think is the best up to this point.

I Like 1-00385


Notice how keeping the light away from the background removes the texture problem we had.

After this point I got better with the macro and also controlling the light and started getting some cool shots. I’ll break up the last set of the shots for another part, but this is a peek at a photo in the next series.

Next Week Macro-00532