Blaze a smoke trail!

Ja­son Parnell-Brookes demon­strates how at­tach­ing a bunch of smoke grenades to a moun­tain bike can give you an ac­tion-packed shot that’s full of at­mo­sphere

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Cre­ate an at­mo­spheric, ac­tion-packed moun­tain bik­ing shot with smoke grenades

Misty por­traits in the woods, with ethe­real tones and flow­ing dresses? Been there, done that. It’s time to get down and dirty with this project, where we’re go­ing to com­bine an ac­tion sports por­trait with clouds of vapour bil­low­ing be­hind. But there’s no need to wait for the per­fect fog to de­scend for an at­mo­spheric smoky shot; get hold of some smoke grenades and you can make it hap­pen your­self.

Smoke grenades are of­ten used for ad­ven­tur­ous ac­tiv­i­ties such as paint­balling, and can be pur­chased from spe­cial­ist stores or on­line for a few pounds (or dol­lars). About the size of your fist, they can be placed in many lo­ca­tions, mak­ing them ver­sa­tile in­stant smoke-mak­ers for the pho­tog­ra­pher with lim­ited ac­cess to fog.

For this project we’re tap­ing them to a moun­tain bike, which our biker buddy Tom Welsh will be tak­ing through its paces along a wooded downhill dirt track. We’ll be cap­tur­ing the smoke belch­ing out from be­hind as Tom tri­umphantly zooms along. That’s not all, we’re also us­ing a pair of Speed­lights to pack some punch into the shot, high­light­ing the edge of Tom and the bike in the process for a shot that’s as dra­matic as it is fast…

The mis­sion ● Shoot a smok­ing moun­tain bike ac­tion por­trait Time ● One hour Skill level ● Be­gin­ner ● In­ter­me­di­ate ● Ad­vanced Kit needed ● Stan­dard lens ● 2x Speed­lights ● 2x light stands ● Wire­less trig­gers

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