Wednesday, March 16, 2011


The logical conclusion of burning all these bulbs.
Suffice it to say, it was very bright.

Click for a wallpaper version
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Oh and a video of one burning off:


Pop Art

This is basically stop motion photography, though the quick and dirty version. Anyone with a flash, a camera, and a knife can get these sorts of shots (oh and i suppose a balloon and running water...and cat like reflexes or a sound trigger).

The idea here is not, as most would assume, fast shutter speed. Infact I will venture so far as to say shutter speed hardly matters at all. What matters here is the duration of your flash. Basically how long is it giving off light? Most are somewhere around 1/1000th of a second, though some go as long as 1/300th of a second (which wont work here) to 1/3200th of a second.
Why does this work? Because no matter how long you expose the image for (assuming the room is dark) the camera is only taking in light for the instant that the flash has fired, therefore the only real data it can record, is in that 1/1000th of a second.
The images you see here are of what was happening in the instant of flash fire, despite the fact that the shutter was open for much longer.

What would happen if you got all crazy excited and thought "fuck yeah, I'm going to use fast flash AND high shutter speed" ?
Terrible ugly things, thats what. A camera will only sync with a flash at certain speeds, usually between 200 and 250. If you set it higher and attempt to use the flash you will see a large black bar (or wholly black image) where the camera and the flash were out of sync.

Moral of the story, use your flash, be it on camera or off. We dont need crazy shutter speeds, just a flash with a short duration.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I Gave My Love A Cherry

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Working on more chemical reactions, but I got an exceptionally nice filament burn, so im posting that.

I've been asked how this is done, with previous filament burns I have taken two copper wires, and taped them to the contacts, then allowed an ice water dip to fall on the lit bulb, eventually the bulb gets hot enough to crack or shatter. Then I snap the shot.
Unfortunately this method is more prone to crack the bulb than shatter it, so the smoke has nowhere to go, and the filament burns off in a less than spectacular way. Makes for cool photos but I wanted a quick flash burn for this one.
So here I broke the bulb in advance, wired it up and got my remote trigger ready. I placed the wired up power cord 1/4th of the way in to the outlet and did a count down.
as soon as the bulb gets electricity the filament will burn off, its getting a lot of oxygen here, so you only get one shot.
I am using two studio strobes to light the bulb and the smoke, and their recycle time is slightly above a second, so by time they are ready to go again, the show is over.
If you want to try this, have your settings already in the camera, and remember the light the bulb gives off is effected by shutter speed and your stobes are not!
You dont need stobes to catch the burn, it is after all giving off its own light, but it will drastically change the lighting in the image and I simply find it more compelling with this dynamic lighting.
the light set up here is one 300 strobe set to 1/2 power with a soft box to the left of the bulb, and one strobe fitted with a snoot far far far behind and lightly to the left of the bulb set to 1/4th power. The behind strobe is the most important, its going to really show off that smoke!

That pretty much covers it. Once you get the timing and the settings right its no harder than shooting anything else. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Its An Apothecary Up in Here

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Chemical fog in a broken light bulb. Fairly straight forward. Was awesome to make so heres a video, with some Leonard Cohen:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Not even trying to be art

This isnt even trying to be art, its just fun.
Then again when people start popping water balloons, I dont think the first thought that comes to most people's minds is "art".
Ideally one would use a sound trigger to sync the photo with the explosion, I do not have a sound trigger and was in no mood to make one. So this is just a result of my cat like reflexes.

Not even trying to be art, just awesome fun:
I've got some ideas to make it more artsy and less Discovery channel, but for now, fun is good enough for me :D