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Smokin' hot pepper sauce

How'd they do that?

This smokin' hot look is easily achieved
This smokin' hot look is easily achieved

Can you believe a pepper sauce so hot that smoke comes out when you open the jar? It’s an effective way to say “hot,” but how is it done?

Simple, really. There is a hole in the wooden surface just behind the jar. A drinking straw is sticking up through the hole. The tip of the straw is almost, but not quite, level with the lip of the jar so it is not visible in the picture. Blow a puff of smoke through the straw or alternately, hold a burning stick, like an incense stick, below the hole so its smoke travels upwards through it. Take the picture when it looks right, and voila! A sauce so hot it smokes!

A few tips if you wish to try this yourself.
1) A quick, gentle puff is all it takes, releasing a very small amount of smoke that will curl and linger over the product. If you blast the smoke out, it will look like a steam engine’s exhaust or worse.
2) The ambient air must be perfectly still, so turn off the room fan.
3) Unless you are using a digital camera, you won’t know what the actual effect will look like until your film is processed, so try several exposures to get the swirl just right. If you are shooting digitally, be sure to check your images in the camera's viewscreen. If you have any doubt that it isn't just what you want, shoot again.
4) Make sure the air around the product is clear and there is no lingering smoke before you take the next shot.
5) If you don’t have an assistant handy to puff through the straw, you will need to do it yourself using a long plastic tube or even several straws fitted together.
6) The background or at least part of it should be dark so the smoke will show up well against it.

This particular hot sauce was used in a series of pictures intended to demonstrate its heat. Check the series out here.

Further information...
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