Kien Quan is a NYC-based action photographer who specializes in capturing urban dancers. Once a competitive dancer, he aims to highlight dance at its highest form in imagery.

You can find more of his work on 500px, his website, Facebook, and Instagram.

500px is full of urban exploration shots, but what if you add some dancers and homemade smoke bombs in the mix?

Lately I’ve been inspired by the urban explorers on Instagram such as @iamnotnicer and @trashhand. Their love of exploring and documenting their legal and illegal journeys into different inner-city environments inspired me, and I decided to try and combine that thrill with my passion of shooting dancers.

Just to spice things up a little bit, I made some homemade smoke bombs using some YouTube tutorials.

Editor’s Note: Attempt at your own risk… 500px certainly doesn’t encourage you to work with dangerous, flammable materials. If you do attempt this, please make sure you are properly prepared with fire extinguishers and other safety equipment.

Smoked 1

Although entering the Freedom Tunnels in NYC is technically trespassing, that was the least of my concerns. My biggest concern was if these smoke bombs were actually going to work.

Depending on how it is cooked, the concoction can fail. Best-case scenario is that the smoke bomb does not light at all. Worst-case scenario is the smoke bomb might ignite too fast and blow up in your hands… neither sounded good to me.

We visited the tunnels and tried to ignite the smoke bombs with a homemade tissue paper fuse. Most of them didn’t work well as the fuses didn’t burn correctly. I manually lit the bombs using more stuffed tissue paper and directly heating up the mixture in the container until it self ignited.

Fortunately, they eventually ignited successfully and we were able to proceed with the shoot. Here’s some of what I captured:

Models: Adonis “Crash” Boom and Jona Jaupi.

Smoked 4

Smoked 2

Smoked 5

Smoked 7

These photos were all shot with natural light: an opening of sunlight coming from above the tunnel. Camera used is a Canon 5D Mark III with a Cannon 35mm f/1.4 lens attached.

Unfortunately, because of pedestrians complaining about the smoke rising from below, we decided to discontinue the shoot rather quickly—the last thing any explorer needs is unwanted attention.

To be continued…