Sometimes "going up in smoke" can be a good thing

Natural smoke (and its Photoshop variety) seem to become more and more a media of choice for artistic expression. Artists inherently like smoke for its flux and dynamic properties, and the public seem to enjoy asking the perennial question "What were they smoking?" when seeing a radical and challenging piece of art.

Today, we'll feature some examples of "smoke art", and marvel at how such an elusive substance can be possibly herded into fascinating shapes.

(original unknown)

Abstract, natural smoke meets electricity

First, lets see how a NATURAL smoke can be made to look so wonderful - without any Photoshop manipulations. Sometimes all it takes is a good high-speed strobe flash and a correct exposure to capture ambient light.

Irene Muller examines the inner wisps and curls of colored smoke, producing photographs worthy to be framed in the process. See the whole series on her site.

(image credit: Irene Muller)

Or the smoke that's produced in explosive interaction with electricity:

(image credit: Irene Muller)

More awesome electricity at play here:

(image credit: Luiz Santos, Ohio University)

See the rest of "high-speed photography of explosions" in our previous article.

Lighting Matches - simple act, enhanced by artistic flair

"Fire and smoke" set from Brent:

(image credit: Brent)

"One Strobe coming from the left and to the rear of the match. Shutter was set to capture ambient flame" -

(image credit: Josh Beeman)

Unintentional Shapes

Unintentional... and all the more surprising for it. Seems like nature can best any our effort to conjure unusual lovely shapes (even if it's milk drops descending into the water... with smoky textures)

(image credit: Maximilian Jaenicke)

Magical combination of smoke and sun rays in this photo, taken in a rice cracker bakery at Inle Lake in Myanmar:

(image credit: Bas Uterwijk)

Burning incense sticks makes groovy "colored smoke" - a series by Graham Jeffery:

(images credit: Graham Jeffery)

Thomas Herbrich has an excellent series "Smoke" on his site:

(images credit: Thomas Herbrich)

Putting an egg in the middle of the smoke action, makes it even more interesting:
(just make sure that no dazed chicken is about to stagger out of it)

(image credit: Sharlene Shappart)

Can't get enough of this? Check out the "Artsmoke" Flickr pool for daily updates.

Photoshop Smoke Nirvana

What were they smoking? Maybe they inhaled a highly-potent concentration of Photoshop tips, tricks, skills and effects, mixed it with a heady brew of creativity - and produced these wisps (for the benefit and enjoyment of the paying client) -

And for the sheer luminous sensuality of smoke (can't touch it, a moment - and it's gone), here are a few retouched smoke dreams from one of the Russian Photoshop forums (where they also discuss steps of how to make such art) -

(images credit: demiart.ru)

Also read:
High-Speed Explosions Photography
Liquid Art & Droplet Photography
X-Ray Photography & Art

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very beautiful stuff... I was always intrigued by patterns in the smoke from a candle or a cigarette as a child... lol

Anonymous Anonymous said...

lovely gallery, but I thought I'd point out that I don't think the 'crown' of smoke is actually smoke. I'm fairly sure that I saw the image on DeviantArt and that the photographer explained that it was a drop of milk in a glass of water.

Just thought you might like to know ^^

Blogger Queen Rosebud said...

very beautiful, i've always been entranced by watching smoke, as well

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Original and interesting art form


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, that is some pretty amazing stuff!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The caption clearly states that the image to which you refer is made with milk and water.

Read before you dis.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incense doesn't create colored smoke, at least not to the extent to which its depicted here. The coloring is done afterwards in photoshop.

Blogger Unknown said...

To Anonymous #6 referring to Anonymous #2: I'm pretty sure DRB added that "milk in water" caption AFTER Anonymous #2 pointed it out.

Think before you dis.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Photoshop anyone? At least for some of the pictures its clearly obvious.

Blogger Dijea said...

Those are absolutely fabulous! It makes me want to go out and experiment.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been doing this awhile. All natural smoke, no digital effects. Check out my Gallery at: www.smokeart.org

Anonymous Anonymous said...

really cool stuff... certainly gets the imagination going

Blogger vivien said...

utterly beautiful!


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