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
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