So many places on the web allow us to keep in touch with the world, and in so many cool and fun ways. Most of these sites allow for the user to put up an avatar, or a photo of themselves. Why not get creative and show a little about yourself in that one “all important” image?
I have heard that some types of images that are used as avatars are a must have. Myspace users agree that an image of yourself in your car is perhaps the holy grail of avatars themselves. Lest we forget the hand held, high as possible, snap shot of ourselves that seems to grace every community type of site imaginable.
After I wrote this post I saved it, and then wondered if it would ever peak someone else’s interest. Well, not too long after I received an email from James of BroMar Photography who found my avatar on my Model Mayhem site, and posted a question on this very topic. Funny how we get what we ask for from life, eh? James, here we go, and from the beginning.
For a fun and new avatar I decided to revert back to my high school days. It seems that one of the most important traits that one needed to obtain was to learn how to make smoke rings. I tried and tried, as I made faces much like a sucker fish might, but I never truly got it down.
Years later, I still struggle. Blowing smoke rings doesn’t mean much anymore, but what a funny thing it was way back when.
To make this image I used several flashes with stands, snooted grids, and one softbox. I placed the camera facing me on a tripod, and used a self timer to snap the image.
I placed the camera in manual focus only to make sure that it would not continuously struggle with focusing sharply on me. I wanted the resulting image to put me slightly out of focus, yet be sharp on the smoke rings. The rings would be just in front of the lens, as I was back several feet.
I used a speed of 200th of a second in order to remove any ambient light. I used an aperture of about 2.8 in order to make sure that I would be out of focus while the rings were not (depth of field/depth of view). The light that was making the image was placed in three different directions, with only one hitting me.
I placed a Nikon SB-28 in a softbox, high and to my left, pointing at me, in order to illuminate my head and shoulders. Next, I placed snooted grids onto two more SB-28’s, and aimed them at each other, just beside the lens. I had to use snooted grids because I could not allow the light spillage to enter into the lens, or have it come back to light me.
I placed the two snooted SB-28’s just in front of the lens, aimed at each other and slightly placed one ahead of the other one to allow for a deeper path of light coverage. I couldn’t make sure where the smoke rings would be at the time that the shutter released so placing the two flashes in this manner gave me a little bit of insurance.
After adjusting the levels, it was time for the shooting to begin. Can you believe that I captured it in only three tries? I was impressed! Under pressure I was able to blow smoke rings, and get a shot of it as proof! Wonder what the bored people are doing with their extra time?