Shooting around FOG MACHINES

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by KSOMS, Mar 17, 2010.

  1. KSOMS

    KSOMS TPF Noob!

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    Hey guys,

    For my very first post ever, I will ask the question that is killing me.

    So I am a club photographer, I have quite the experence with it, and have recently started at a new club and have run into a problem i have never encountered before (surprisingly).

    two words guys...
    FOG MACHINES

    So this club gets Filled with fog by the end of the night.
    I use a Nikon D80, with a 24-70mm f/2.8ED lens, and an SB 900 Flash, which is pointed at the roof the whole time, with the diffuser head on.

    I shoot anywhere from 1/20- 1/80 with my flash at about 1/4 power

    now, all my photos look like a hot box. for those of you who are unaware of what that is, its basically a smoke filled room.

    ive found a way to get around it kind of during editing, which is converting them to "direct positive" but that makes my photos look like garbage. and i can not have this happen any more. i am loosing business over this problem, and am hoping you all might have some skills with this that i dont.

    I shoot RAW and use Adobe Lightroom 2 to edit.

    The first two are directly from camera, the third one is edited but as you can see i cant get around the fog...

    sorry for the size of these photos, as i cannot make them smaller...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    So there you have it, sorry for the huge images, i cant figure out how to make them smaller...
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    So what's the question? :scratch:

    If you are shooting a smoke filled room, it's going to look like a smoke filled room, not a whole lot you can do about that.
     
  3. mdtusz

    mdtusz TPF Noob!

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    I've run into the same problem before too. Taking in a bit more ambient can help a little, but I can't think of a way to get rid of it.
     
  4. KSOMS

    KSOMS TPF Noob!

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    UHh, everyone i have spoken to says there is no way around it, i was hoping there was some age old secret kind of thing not many knew of...

    is there some technique with the flash i can do other then having it point up maybe? like use it off camera or something?
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Nope. That crap is in the air and it has dimension, however small, so it will catch light at whatever angle you apply it at.

    I would venture your only hope is to backlight it on both sides with OCF at about 135° off the lens axis, measured from the camera position. Lens flare could be an issue depending on the lenses and lens hoods you use.

    The lights might be far enough away you may well need studio strobes rather than a couple of speedlights and of course you wouldn't be able to roam around the room.

    Sure hope this isn't your gravy train, or you could soon be loosing weight.

    You might contact the health department and complain about the cough, cough, situation, cough, cough, cough.

    They may also have issue with the fog machine and deal with the management on your behalf. ;)
     
  6. Dominantly

    Dominantly TPF Noob!

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    meh, I think I could get around the fog on those first two, and make it a better looking photograph.
    That would be time consuming though for a whole evenings worth of shots.
     
  7. KSOMS

    KSOMS TPF Noob!

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    Well as i said, the first 2 were un edited. and you should see the amount of fog they pump into this place, its all you can smell, its all you can see, even burns the eyes a bit after a few hours...

    I like the strobe idea, however this is a nightclub, and they would most likely get broken... cant waste the only 2 strobe heads i own.

    but I guess there isnt really a way to get around, given the fast paced shooting environment of club photography and all.

    But I thank you all for the help, and if anyone has anythign else please post!

    cheers :cheers:
     
  8. Hamtastic

    Hamtastic TPF Noob!

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    I run into fog machines occasionally at wedding receptions, although they usually use them sparingly. The only solution I've found is to shoot directly into the stage/dance lights. The haze is still there, but it looks a lot cooler with colored light beaming through it.

    Google "slow sync flash". Going with a slower shutter speed would allow more of the ambient light to expose.

    Some other things you could try would be colored flash filters. Maybe blue or red haze looks slightly better? Getting the flash off camera, even if it's just held out to the side, would probably spice things up a bit.
     
  9. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It would help if you didn't overexpose the shots like the DJ shot
     
  10. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yep. the fog is there. You are going to have to get the flash off the camera. Actually you should probably leave the flash in the bag as the white light is going to make any shot look hazy. Getting it off the camera will give some nice shadow-thru-the-fog shots but as noted it's going to show whatever color light that hits it.

    One other thing comes to mind, there are snoots that will fit on your flash. Tightening up your beam will help get rid of the overflash.

    Good luck
    mike
     
  11. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well all of the off camera flash suggestions above, or not using flash could help.
    its hard to say for sure because of the flash illuminating the air, if it is indeed fog or if its haze, club should be using Haze rather than fog, unless they have a particular reason for a foggy atmosphere, or someone just thought it would be "cool". Really based on the images above, there is little lighting equipment in the club so there is almost no need for any haze or fog anyway. If they had better lighting you wouldn't need the flash and the haze would give back light a defined form.

    Anyway, since you probably cant change what the club does, avoiding on camera flash would be the best option. All on camera flash is going to do is illuminate the air right in front of you and bounce right back before hitting your subject. If you can move the flash to there the light is not bouncing of the fog and back to your camera, you will have MUCH clearer images. Think about the lighting at a rock concert, You can see well defined beams of light pointing towards the audience from the back, but because of the high angle of the front lights you can clearly see the people on stage, rather than the air.
     
  12. Alpha

    Alpha Troll Extraordinaire

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    I have two suggestions:

    1) Try steepening the a/b channel curves in Lab color mode in PS in order to get greater color separation. For more info, pick up a copy of Dan Margulis' book Lab Color....

    2) I have no idea if this would work, especially since it's already a low-light environment, but a CPL always cuts through haze outside. Maybe you could crank up the flash power and give it a try?
     

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