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Photos By Adele: Photographing Steam

There is something so mesmerizing about watching steam or smoke billowing out of something. I have been itching to be able to capture this for a while now. So this morning, when I woke up on the first day of spring in Calgary to a city covered in a blanket of snow, I knew it would be the perfect day.

After a few horrific test shots I quickly realized that having a less distracting background was a must. So I scrambled around my house until I found an old black bed sheet. The beautiful thing about photography is although you may be told that you need the most expensive equipment for sucess, sometimes household items work the best!

Next I needed to actually create some steam to photograph- not too hard- I put my lovely kettle on the stove and in about five minutes it was screaming at me that it was ready. The lighting was a little bit more tricky because the steam has to be highlighted or else it won't show up in the photograph. So with my off camera speed-light directly behind the subject, it nicely highlighted the steam coming off of my kettle.

The same setup was used for capturing the steam rising from my teapot and smoke from my candles. One thing I did notice about highlighting the subject from behind is that cameras will pick up dust or dirt that may be on your subject. Sometimes that can add a cool effect to your photo, but if you're not looking for that type of look, best to wipe the subject with a cloth before starting. Definitely a fun idea to play around with. I will have to keep it in mind for future photo shoots!