Last night was the monthly Halifax Photo Society meeting, and instead of the usual proceedings, we did some photography!!  The organizers, Alan and Rob had brought in some props to photograph, namely some incense and a black backdrop.  (There was also a fishbowl and some ink, but I wasn't really happy with the way the shots turned out)  Some really fun abstract photos ensued:

Some techy stuff: These shots were done with a single off camera flash, bare bulb, about 90 degrees to the left of the smoke.  The flash was flagged so that it wouldn't spill onto the background, and it was also zoomed in as far as it would go.  Gels were used to get the colour and the focus was achieved by holding my hand above the smoke and letting the camera focus.  I used aperture F6.3, ISO400 and a shutter speed of 1/80 to 1/160.  The flash was on manual mode, firing at 1/8 power and triggered with pocket wizards.  

In terms of setup, the camera was on a tripod for stability and consistency.  The backdrop was simply a piece of black construction paper or bristol board (black coated foam core, a black sheet, anything will do, really, as long as your shutter speed is high).  The background was placed about a meter back from the smoke source.

Sometimes, the really cool stuff happens when you least expect it.  I held my finger in the smoke for a minute to disperse it, then removed it, fired a few shots.  I didn't see this until I got home!

More coming down the pipe this week!  Cheers!

Edit: after working with this a little more at home, I created this image:

I was so happy with this result I decided to upload it to InterfaceLIFT, a page dedicated to providing free downloads of awesome backgrounds.  If you want, you can see the image here and vote on it if you have an account.  Thanks!