Photography Project: Make a Mess

I am a big fan of Lindsey Adler. She is creative and informative. She offers a Creative Photography Challenge on CreativeLive. It includes ten challenges, and is free. I decided to mix it up a bit, and tried the first challenge: Making a Mess. When I started I had no idea I would go through 1/2 a bag of flour and have to explain to Peter why I had flour in my hair, on my camera, and all over our outdoor plants. Eventually, he decided I could use some help and started throwing flour (although I’m fairly certain, some of the flour that landed on me was no accident). This project was ultimately a failure, but I learned about the properties of airborne flour and lighting flour; I also developed a better appreciation for all of those amazing photos of people moving through clouds of “dust”.

The Vision: I wanted to photograph “Bob” and “Nancy”, my toy dinosaurs, with a desert background shrouded in a primordial fog. Instead of a foggy effect, I got “snow”. I wasn’t able to successfully make clouds of dust from flour and waft it over Bob and Nancy.

Lighting: I tried this project several times over the course of the week. It was bright and sunny in the desert each time, so I darkened the background by increasing my shutter speed. I used one flash to light the flour from behind, and another to light Bob.

Scene: Initially I wanted a vast landscape scene with a closeup of Bob and Nancy standing on a ridge surveying the desert beyond. As I got in close with my wide angle I was in the direct line of fire of the flour. Ultimately, I chose to use my telephoto so I could get more distance between my camera equipment and the flying flour and opted for a simple black background.

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