Restless Night, Water Balloons, Bare Electric Wires, A Pellet Gun and a Camera

Just by reading the title of this entry, you have probably already guessed that I am not writing about the safest day spent in the studio.  What you are about to see is a result of my overactive brain at night.  This idea came to me one night as I was trying to get to sleep.  Of course then I couldn’t sleep until I had the details figured out, but nevertheless i ended up sleeping and a few days later I was determined to try to get the shot I saw in my head.

The shot i had pictured was an exploding light bulb, but instead of glass, the bulb was water.  I’ve seen shots of water balloons popping,  and if you catch it at just the right moment, the water retains the shape of the balloon.  Well, I wanted to take that shot a step further.

There is no safe way to break a live bulb and a water balloon at the same time, so I knew that I would do each separately and then combine the final images in Photoshop.

First I set up for the bulb breaking.  I wanted to see the threads of the bulb, so I soldered a cut extension cord to the threads and the base of the bulb.  Please don’t try this, it can be very dangerous (or deadly).  I set up my flashes, one to camera left and one under the bulb.

I was standing to the right of the camera with a pellet gun and a remote.  I shot the pellet through the bulb and into the cardboard box you see on a backdrop stand.  Here are a few shots of the bulbs bursting:

After the sparks ceased, the smoke cleared, and I cleaned up all of the glass, it was time for the water balloons.  The setup was similar – i just added an aquarium to catch the majority of the water.  The balloons were popped with a safety pin on the end of one of those sticks you open and close blinds with.  Again, i just tried to time my stabbing of the balloons with clicking the remote which resulted in several hits and misses.

The setup:

And some of the balloons bursting:

From there I was pretty sure I had what I needed after 5 bulbs and about 20 balloons. It was time to take everything into Photoshop.  One note – once i opened the files in photoshop, i rotated them all 180 degrees so the bulb would be facing up in the final images.  Without further ado, here are the final images so far  (note the first image does have a filament from another shot photoshopped into the bulb):

To view all of the images, please visit my Flickr Page

4 thoughts on “Restless Night, Water Balloons, Bare Electric Wires, A Pellet Gun and a Camera

  1. Pingback: Featured in Rangefinder Magazine and Rangefinder Radio! « My Art, My Life….

  2. Great results, much better timing than my method, it’s funny because my last two photos on flickr are of a separate water balloon and a broken bulb 😉

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