You can with a Nikon, not with a Canon ;-))

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Sosumi, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. I did something like this long ago in school. We were photographing a
    light bulb exploding when it was shot by an air rifle.

    The bulb was a blown stage lamp from the theatre. Like a home bulb
    but a lot bigger. We held it in a clamp.

    The rifle was into another clamp aimed at the bulb and locked into
    place. This was important since for the photograph, the room would be
    blacked out.

    The camera was my cheap Praktica 35mm SLR on a tripod aimed at the
    bulb. Again the tripod was necessary since it the room would be

    The flash was not connected to the camera. Instead it was fired by a
    microphone (with a simple circuit between the mic and the flash).

    Once everything was set up, we blacked out the room, locked the
    shutter open, and fired the gun.

    We had several bulbs but not many so test runs were performed using
    paper targets. Delay was controlled by the simple technique of moving
    the microphone towards or away from the gun. There was no deliberate
    or controllable delay in our firing circuit.

    After a run with paper targets and various delays we went to the dark
    room to develop the film.

    Then we made some guesses as to which delay would be best with the
    bulb and shot a few of the bulbs. We got a couple of nice shots
    (sic). The flying glass was nicely frozen and easily visible. I
    don't recall if we caught or froze the bullet. I should still have
    the picture somewhere but it could take me a while to find it.

    This was not an officially approved school experiment just an
    unsupervised lunch time photography club gone wild. I don't think
    that kids today would get away with such a thing. Even then the
    teacher may have stopped us if he had known. We showed him the
    results and he was quite impressed. Since, the experiment had
    finished without death or injury and not too much mess, we did not get
    into any trouble.
    Seán O'Leathlóbhair, Sep 13, 2007
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  2. Sosumi

    Wayne Guest

    Very interesting Seán. The flash can stop the bullet too, except it may have
    moved out of the frame before the lamp fully reacted. The trick is some way
    to trigger the flash at exactly the right instant that you want to capture,
    like your microphone and audio path length. The shutter is simply open, and
    the flash does all the work of stopping the action.

    Film is the hard way. Digital makes this infinitely easier today, to be able
    to see and tune results in real time.
    Wayne, Sep 13, 2007
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  3. Yes, that was what prompted me to make the post. I think that the
    highest shutter speed was 1/500s. I dreamt of having 1/1000s or even
    1/2000s which I had seen on more expensive cameras. Getting the
    electronic flash was great since it was fast enough to freeze all
    sorts of stuff, you just needed to do the stuff in the dark. Locking
    the shutter open required a mechanical cable release with a locking
    nut. Rather low tech. Flash sync was slow 1/60s or 1/125s, I forget
    but as has been pointed out, that was not an issue for this
    Well, digital cameras were hard to get in the 1970s especially with a
    kid's pocket money. I was trying to find my camera a while ago on the
    net. I have found some that look a bit like it but they don't exactly
    fit my memory. The first picture on the Wikipedia page below looks
    similar but the lens is wrong; I had a 50mm f/2.8. Just as I dreamed
    of a higher shutter speed, I dreamed of a wider aperture such as the f/
    1.8 in that picture.

    Using the school Physic's lab with a darkroom next door helped. Black
    and white only, of course.

    Kids today would have access to nice digital cameras and computers but
    probably would not be allowed to shoot light bulbs in the dark. I
    think that we may have learned more our way.
    Seán O'Leathlóbhair, Sep 14, 2007
  4. Sosumi

    Fred Guest

    Err... /flash/ *is* french, right?
    Fred, Sep 14, 2007
  5. Sosumi

    Pete D Guest

    What a wanker of a post, just threw out any credibility you ever had, get
    some manners stupido!
    Pete D, Sep 16, 2007
  6. Sosumi

    Robert Guest

    Oh the irony. You actually suggesting someone else needs manners. Hypocrite.
    Robert, Sep 16, 2007
  7. Sosumi

    Pete D Guest

    Nice first post Robert, really enjoyed it!!!
    Pete D, Sep 17, 2007
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