Friday, December 30, 2011

Grover Schrayer's Amazing Candle Smoke Photography

I just came across this article on Pittsburgh photo artist Grover Schrayer who takes spectacular photos of the smoke from blown out candles. Armed with his Fujifilm Finepix S8100fd 10MP Digital Point and Shoot, 18x Wide Angle Dual Image Stabilized Optical Zoomcamera, along with a snap on Raynox M-250 macro lens, he demonstrates what one can do with simple and not terribly costly equipment, imagination, patience and the ability to think outside the box. Although both the camera and the Raynox lens are discontinued, you can still find the camera on Amazon, for now, and the replacement for the M-250 is the DCR-250 Super Macro Snap-On Lens, also available on Amazon for under $80.00 and compatible with most cameras.
Although it apparently took Schrayer 25 attempts before he finally got what he wanted, what he got was worth the effort.

'I focused on the wick, or the edge of the flame, had the shutter button half-pressed and ready, and blew out the candle and snapped very quickly.

'The built-in flash gave me head-on illumination of the smoke, and that head-on lighting allowed me to pick up the refraction through the droplets of wax.

'Any other angle of illumination would not produce the rainbow effect.

'Even with all that planning, it still took 25 attempts to get a decent shot of the effect.' Grover used a Fuji Finepix S8100fd, with a Raynox M-250 macro lens attached. Each image is shot at 1/1000th or higher.

'The camera's built-in flash provided the perfect head-on illumination that made the light refract through the wax droplets and back towards the camera in exactly the way that sunlight refracts through raindrops to make a rainbow.
'I only noticed the effect afterwards when looking through the images I had taken.

'But once I saw it show up on a number of photos, I decided to capture as many instances of it as I could for good measure.'

I truly admire those who know how to manipulate their cameras to create these fabulous abstract works of art.  I recently posted about German photographer Heinz Maier, another amazing artist, and his incredible water photography. They're an inspiration to us all, and a reminder that it's not the equipment that makes a good photographer, it's the imagination and artistry that lies within.  And at less than $80.00 a pop, I think I might add that Raynox to my list of equipment, though I'll stick to Canons.

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