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Prayers To Wakan | by WyomingGeezer
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Prayers To Wakan

This shot is out of my third smoke photo session. In contrast to “First Smoke,” this shot indicates that one can learn with practice, especially, if the frame of mind is receptive to ideas and advice from others.


I named this shot “Prayers to Wakan” for personal reasons.


I am still working on my techniques so I won’t get into much detail here other than to explan the basic setup.


One thing that fascinates me about smoke pictures - the diversity of possible shots is infinite as well as the options one has in the post processing steps.





Nikon D200, 300mm, 1/250sec, f/9, WB Flash, manual exposure, ISO 100, about seven feet from the subject. Lighting: Nikon SB-600, full power manual, 8 inches right of smoke. Black background, snoot around light. Adobe Photoshop Elements 8 include:

a. Camera Raw to increase exposure 2 stops.

b. Level adjustments to suppress background noise.

c. Colorize using hue/saturation layer.



1. While smoke shots can be done with halogen lighting, much better results are obtained using a flash.

2. For some reason, my remote flash trigger only fires about 70% of the time - Arrrggghhh! [figured that out - note to self: don't be so cheap - put in good batteries]

3. My studio is located the basement and, when the furnace is off, the air is absolutely still. The smoke is at peace and the spirits are at rest. This is not a good thing for smoke photography. Wafting the air stirs things up but one must wait until it settles down somewhat. I think that, if I were to open my door towards the north, the spirits might sense a Wyoming Wind and be more active.

4. The post-processing possibilities in Adobe Photoshop are, literally, infinite. This is where the true art comes into play.




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Taken on March 23, 2012