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Behind The Lens

I took this in my bedroom in a block I was living in, a very small room! But as I was on a photography course I wanted to experiment with some of the flash techniques I'd used.
This was taken in the evening, after dinner, when I had a moment of motivation to try something new and test out new techniques! But as I was taking it in my room I also had to be quick before I set off any smoke alarms!! It was only a small stream of smoke from a fragrance stick.
To get the effect on the smoke I used two flashes off camera with coloured gels on. I had to flag the lights to avoid lighting the background and focusing all the light onto the smoke, which was actually only a small trail.
I used a DSLR on a tripod, lights off and smoke from a fragrance stick lit by two flashes with coloured gels. I used stacks of books to flag the flashes and avoid light on the background (a shabby radiator!) Even though it was indoors I couldn't open the window or doors for fear of the smoke trail disturbing, however this meant a small risk of me smoking myself out of the room!
I was on a photography course and we'd been recently learning about flash and flash techniques and I had a moment of inspiration to try something I'd not done before. I'd seen a few smokey shots and always wanted to try it but never knew how to light it. I was really pleased with the results.
I probably darkened the background a little and increased contrast and saturation to bring the colours of the gels out a bit but not a lot.
In my camera bag
I've since upgraded to a new Canon 5D IV as I get more into video and have at least a long and prime lens with me, with two flash units so I can have at least one off camera controlled with the other. Spare batteries are a must! If I'm feeling playful I'll bring my Lee filters with me and a tripod too and maybe some other filters. I've started taking a small dinosaur out with me to show him rampaging the towns and cities I visit!
If you have an idea in your head, even a vague one, do some online research and just try it! You have absolutely nothing to lose by experimenting. I tried this shot various times before I realised where I needed to point the flashes and where I needed to flag. Research is great for inspiration as well as techniques. Experiment, practice and practice some more!

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