02 Home is where the art is

Be more cre­ative with your still-life photo projects

Digital Camera World - - 10 THINGS ... TO TRY RIGHT NOW -

Late au­tumn and win­ter means in­clement weather and in­creas­ingly short days, so why not try some cre­ative pho­tog­ra­phy in­doors? There’s more to this type of pho­tog­ra­phy than shoot­ing wa­ter droplets, though. If you’re seek­ing some cre­ative in­spi­ra­tion, check out the work of Dina Be­lenko.

Dina de­scribes her work as photo il­lus­tra­tion, but she is schooled in the tra­di­tional dis­ci­plines of still-life pho­tog­ra­phy. “A great place to start is with a sparkler,” she ex­plains. “Ex­pose it for about a sec­ond or half a sec­ond, de­pend­ing on the scale of the scene, and you can get beau­ti­ful fiery trails. In the im­age be­low, I stuck a sparkler on a plate with Plas­ticine, then in­tro­duced other el­e­ments. I moved the glass and cho­co­lates closer to the sparkler, so the sparks could bounce off them. After that I placed the cam­era on a tri­pod, set the shut­ter speed to 1.3 seconds and lit the sparkler. It burns for quite a long time.”

Dina is also a big fan of smoke in still-life pho­tog­ra­phy. “All you need is a dark back­ground, a back­light, and in­cense sticks. Lots of them. They are much cheaper than a fog ma­chine, more ac­ces­si­ble than dry ice, and safer than an open flame.

“For my ‘Betel­geuse Travel Corp’ im­age ( www.bit.ly/dc158-dina), I used about 15 in­cense sticks. I cov­ered the bot­tom of a suit­case with foil to pro­tect it from hot ashes, in­serted an LED lamp and lit the sticks. For my Voices im­age ( www.bit.ly/dc158-dina2), I used just one stick, and placed it on the bot­tom of a minia­ture tele­phone box, so that the smoke could rise right inside it.”

Get started to­day

* Smoke ef­fects look mys­te­ri­ous and beau­ti­ful, but it’s best to work in a well-ven­ti­lated room! * Lots of th­ese tech­niques in­volve slow shut­ter speeds, so a tri­pod and re­mote re­lease are es­sen­tial. If that seems a bit cum­ber­some, try a com­pact cam­era support such as the Joby Go­ril­lapod ( www.joby.com). * Dina is also a wizard at mak­ing sugar look like snow. Pow­dered sugar or flour gives a nice snow­fall ef­fect, she says. “You can even make a real bliz­zard, if you sprin­kle it force­fully enough and choose and the right shut­ter speed.” * Dina is also fa­mous for her images of splash­ing cof­fee or other tinted liq­uids, for which she uses a sy­ringe and a flash­gun, and ap­plies a fast shut­ter speed.

Dig­i­tal Cam­era

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