Smoke is a superb source of abstract shape and texture. While difficult to control it can, with some experimentation, yield unique and pleasant forms. To get started you only need a couple of things:
- An external flash
- A way to fire the flash remotely. Depending on camera brand and model, a so called off shoe cord may be the cheapest alternative.
- Something that can act as a snoot. I used an old milk carton. I cut a large hole in the top and a smaller in the bottom where the flash goes in. This limits the light from the flash to go only where you want it do go and not spread out towards the background.
- A dark, preferably black, background
- Something to generate the smoke. I used incense.
The next step is done in you computer. You may want to try things like
- Invert the picture
- Rotate and crop – look at parts of the smoke and see what you may find
- Add a mirror copy
- Try coloring. Both using layer transforms and grey mapping.