I miss creating portraits – a lot. After freshening up the landscaping and trying to find a new focus during the first three weeks of quarantine due to COVID-19, I spent a lot of time taking advantage of a multitude of free or discounted online photography learning videos, webinars and conferences. Even though I retired from my full time job in the legal field – there’s still not enough time in the day for all the photography knowledge I want to absorb! I want to experiment with the new techniques I’m learning, but I want to be a good citizen and maintain physical distancing. What am I to do? First start a blog as my husband has been after me to do since I retired.
To start the year off, as a belated Christmas and anniversary gift, my husband and I attended a national photography conference – Imaging USA. The learning was phenomenal and inspirational. My husband, Jude, came away from a session that demonstrated the use of canned aerosol which creates a fog effect. He could not wait to try the technique and promptly ordered Atmosphere Aerosol – basically fog in a can. For more information about this product see https://www.atmosphereaerosol.com. I think using the product on a dark background enhances the effect.
One of my last photography sessions prior to the quarantine was a mini-session for a high school senior. First I make sure I have the pose, composition, focus and lighting set the way I want, then my assistant (who happens to be my husband and fellow photographer) sprays the aerosol around for a few seconds and I quickly snap images. The aerosol doesn't float around very long (the intensity only lasts for seconds) so I have to work fast. I save the canned aerosol for the end of an in-studio session so we aren’t continuing to use the studio after “fogging up” the space. And very importantly, I check with my client to be sure they don’t suffer from asthma or any respiratory issues that may be adversely affected by the use of aerosol.
Since we are limited in our personal contact due to the quarantine, I’m trying to be more mindful about practicing various photography challenges that I run across in my online learning. One of the photography groups that I am involved in recently posted a challenge using only a single light source. A second group which concentrates on flower photography posted a challenge dealing with lighting. I decided to combine those two challenges and add in the fog as a supplement to the challenges. My roses just started blooming so that was a great subject matter for these challenges. In addition to the Atmosphere Aerosol, I used an Alien Bee B800 studio strobe (https://www.paulcbuff.com/AlienBees-tm-Flash-Unit.html) with a strip box modifier, placed behind and to the right of the rose and a large 4' x 8' (1/2 of a V-flat) reflector to camera left.
If you check out https://www.atmosphereaerosol.com/pages/how-atmosphere-aerosol-works you’ll see that the canned aerosol can also be used outdoors to enhance light rays. I’m looking forward to trying that out.