Monthly Archives: December 2008

After the first experiments with smoke I thought it would be a logic step to also try fire. So while I still had my product table setup I placed some matches in front of my lens and was thinking about how to light them and make sure that I would release the shutter on the exact right moment. First I thought it would be a good idea to use a heavy duty laser. I was able get my hands on a 100mW green laser. But unfortunately it was not powerful enough. It would make the wood of the matchstick smoke but it would not actually light the match. So I had to use a lighter. Light the match, remove my hand with lighter from the scene, and press the shutter. Light setup was the same as with the smoke experiment, with the only difference that I bounced the light from the opposite side where the flash head with barn doors and grid was located on a small piece of white paper. So hard light to make sure we will see the smoke and a small diffuser to make sure we get some softer light on the match. Make sure you set the right shutters speed to sync with your flash and try to get a small diaphragm (f/22) so you get enough depth of focus (DOF). And then…. Just as with the smoke pictures. Shoot as much as you can and waste a lot of matches… enter the gallery here [Canon 5d, 70mm, f/22, studiolight, Grid + Barndoors]

When I was editing some shots from the smoke experiment in Photoshop I got the idea to mirror the smoke and add a gradient coloured layer to the whole. below you see some examples.

Google together with Life magazine has published a photo archive of over more then 2 million photos. They promise that this collection will expand to 8 million. Check it out via this link: http://images.google.com/hosted/life. In this collection you will find photos that were published in Life magazine and also many unknown, never published before photos. Many of my favourite photographers can be found in this collection. It is a delight to scan thru the immense database.

As planned I tried to shoot smoke pictures. I created a gallery were you will find the first results. I definitely will try more often, to see if I can get a better quality. For now I am satisfied with the result but I wish I would be able to get the smoke a bit clearer. So I’m still looking for some incense that produces lighter smoke. For those who do not know how to make this kind of pictures: Use an incense stick to create smoke (smells nice as well while you work), and put some hard light from one side. Use a snoot or barn doors to keep the light from hitting the background. Use black paper as a background and start shooting. Due to the fact you can’t control the smoke you just shoot (you’ve got to love digital) a lot of shots and hope you are lucky. Make sure you use a small lens opening (large f number i.e. f/22) And set you shutter to the sync speed of your flash (differs from 1/60s to 1/200s). When you are done, import your photo in Photoshop (or similar program) and inverse the image ([CTRL+I]. If you are happy with the result you are done. If not you can play with the curves [CTRL+M] which can help you to make the smoke more clear. The images on this page were also rotated 180 degrees. (smoke travels up in most cases) Enjoy when you will try for yourself. [shot with Canon 5D, 24-70mm f/22, studio light]

Last week my wife joined us when we went swimming. So I had my hand free to aim while I was taking the pictures. And yes I got lucky, here you see a photo of my 6 months old daughter underwater. [Canon IXUS 75, underwaterhousing]

Not long ago I came to the idea to make a Christmas-card which involved our little baby girl. But before I would end up with the standard card, like a portrait with Christmas hat, or baby wrapped up as a present. I decided to try something else. I have been playing around with scale models. You know the little figures that are used on the model train tracks. And I came to the idea to create a Christmas cartoon. A little story that involves our little girl, Santa Claus, and little fairies. How was it done? I set up a product table and my studio lights. Did some test shoots with just the scale models. And then we placed Nicki (our daughter) on a sheep skin on the table. By now she is getting used to the lights and starts smiling as soon as she sees the camera. The little fairy was hanging on elastic invisible magic thread. This is something you can buy at any magic supply shop. And it is better than nylon fishing thread because it is elastic. So when something (or some little baby) pulls it, it won’t break. Light was one single soft box and for the background I used a piece of black background paper which was taped to the table and the wall. No photoshops edits or any other manipulations were needed. What you see is what you get…. Here are the first shots that involved the fairies. I thought the title was a perfect match. [shot with Canon 5D, 24-70mm f18, studio light (softbox)]

When I was searching my old archives, I found some old favorites. I made this series during my time at the academy. I named it “Desperate Housewives”. The idea was to photograph beautiful women doing the household. While doing their chores they were showing the dissatisfaction with their lives. The shoots were made in my old student home. The old kitchen had the perfect setting. I had some other locations in mind, but this was not an assignment from my teachers and they kept me busy with other tasks, so I never managed to do more than these two shoots. I asked the models to dress up in black dresses, and not to wear shoes. (I can’t remember why) Personally I like the shots a lot and maybe I should find the time to finish the series. [Photos were shot with a Mamiya 645, 80mm, on Ilford HP5, and then scanned from negative.]

I have been playing with my new underwater housing for my Canon Digital Ixus 75. And I love it. The main reason why I bought it was because I started swimming with my daughter, and I wanted to capture these wonderful moments. Here are some first try-outs. I have to admit that it is a pain in the @#$ to get the right images when you have a 6 months old baby in one hand and a camera in the other. So I do realize that I have to wait until she will be a bit older and can float by herself without my direct help. Till then I’ll have to be happy with the ‘lucky’ shots from close by. The main problems that you need to be aware of are the fact that you build-in flash is very limited and has a short range. Second is that you need to be aware of the fact that light diffuses differently underwater then above water. There is an example in the gallery where the lens is halfway under and the flash is completely submerged. Last but very annoying is that every little particle in the water will be emphasized by the flash light, and therefore becomes visible. But maybe I will figure out how to bypass these issues. …to be continued. for more check the gallery