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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. :)