My Adventures In Photography

A while back I started a photography column for my hometown's local newspaper — you'll find all of my columns from those pages here as well as new ones that I write.

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Get creative with crayons

We’re revisiting our childhoods this post by playing around with crayons, and incorporating our privileges as adults to mess with heat to melt them.

I did this project a few years ago just for fun and I thought it’d be nice to revisit it — especially now that I can write about it in my blog.

The crayon thing is cool, but you might be asking: “how does this apply to photography?”
I’ll get to that in a moment.

First thing’s first: get some crayons!

I chose to get a big roll of paper and used painter’s tape to attach it to a wall on a slight angle. From there, I lined up the crayons, taped them together securely and then attached them to the top of the paper.

Remember, we’re going to be melting these, so make sure you have a lot of paper for the wax to drip off of.

I do NOT recommend using a hair dryer. I started out with one for this post to show how badly the effects of it can be. You’ll notice in the pictures the wax went in every direction but down when I used the hair dryer (even when I pointed the dryer straight down).

So, pro-tip: Don’t do that.

Alternatively, I tried a curling iron; that didn’t work at all. There simply isn’t enough heat.
In the end I opted to use a candle lighter (one of the long ones). I held the flame well away from the crayons to make sure that no fires broke out — you have to be smart here if you decide to use fire. It’ll take longer to melt the wax, but at least your house will still be standing at the end of the night.

From there, I simply let the crayons melt and drip down on the paper.

OK, here’s where the photography part of the post comes into play.

Look for different angles to shoot this unique subject. That’s the challenge.

I tried different angles, apertures, focal lengths and more before I was satisfied with the three shots attached to this post.

I used a number of lenses ranging from a 16-35mm f/2.8 to a 70-200mm f/2.8.

The best part of this project is that you can take your time with it. Once the wax dries in its drippy form, you’ve got all the time in the world to shoot.

I used a single source of light that was adjacent from the wall and I made sure the light was very close to the crayons so there was as much light as possible. Making sure the light is closer lets you use apertures as wide as f/2.8 and as closed down as f/14 if you want to play with depth of field.

If you decide to try this project, be sure to be safe and have fun! It’s a unique blend of crafts and photography that is simply a blast to play around with.