Monday, April 21, 2014

Smoke Photography

It's been a long time since I've posted any photography here. This isn't because I've totally given up on it; I just haven't been doing quite as much. I've had more inspiration for writing, and certain ideas I've had required warmth and green foliage and such. However, last month, I discovered smoke photography- specifically, taking pictures of the smoke from incense sticks and then editing those pictures in various creative ways, like changing the color of the smoke, adding other elements to the pictures, etc.

You can probably guess one of my first ideas. After all, what's one of the first thing a fantasy lover thinks of when she thinks of smoke or fire?

That's right. Dragons.

I originally planned to have the smoke coming out of the dragon's mouth like fire, but the toy dragon we bought didn't have its mouth open. I ended up liking what I did instead much better, though.

From the Pages of Legend
The hardest part was getting the smoke to look like it was coming out of his nostrils. I wouldn't have been able to do it if my dad hadn't helped a lot.

While playing around with other smoke pictures, I happened across this one:

Admittedly, it doesn't look like much on its own, but I'd been listening to Howl's Moving Castle again, and the shape and color reminded me of something. So I did a little more playing around, added some other smoke images, and came out with this:

It's Calcifer! (Also, if anyone watched the movie and is thinking "What? Sarah, Calcifer is yellow and orange and looks like a normal flame!", I'm going by the book, in which he's mostly blue with green flames at the top like hair and orange flames for eyes.) This was actually a lot easier to do than it looks; the only really hard part was figuring out how to select smoke for the eyes. The rest was just layer masks and hue-saturation adjustments.

I haven't done much else with the smoke pictures, but I'm hoping to get around to it soon. I have a few other picture ideas I want to try sometime. I hope you enjoyed these two! Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)     


  1. Wow, that's really neat! Calcifer looks so cool!

  2. Great artwork, Sarah! You're good! :D The dragon looks awesome.
    My favorite, though, is Calcifer. You did a great job of representing him as the book describes him!
    I didn't realize that you'd seen the movie as well. What did you think? I thought it was enjoyable, but a little weird. Anime usually is. But as far as anime goes, it was pretty good. Not very faithful to the book... but there were some good moments. :)

    1. Thank you very much! I'm glad you like them, especially Calcifer!
      I haven't actually seen the movie yet . . . I got it out from the library, but didn't have time to watch it. I currently have it on request again, and should be able to watch it when it comes back in. I just know what movie-Calcifer looks like because (1)he's on the cover, and (2)I think I looked it up on Google.


I'd love to hear your thoughts! But remember: it pays to be polite to dragons.