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Full Critique Hot Bulb

Southern Gent

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This is a proof of concept based on a video I saw recently. The shot was setup using a 200 watt incandescent bulb, a mirror, and a sparkler. The mirror was laid flat, a blob of granddaughters play dough was used to set the bulb upright in and a blob of the same stuff used to mount the sparkler directly behind. You want the sparkler fairly close for this, but not touching. For anyone who might try this, I have a couple of suggestions. First the sparkler I used was one of the large multi-color ones (only thing we still had left), the powder was inside a tube taped to a stick. The problem with it was it changed to much during the burn both in color and intesnsity, second the sparks it kicked out always went to one side. If I were to do it again, I'd use the plain wire sparklers as they throw out a more uniform cone of sparks. Second, don't use a cheap mirror from Walmart. Apparently they're not glass, so I now have divots in the mirror from the sparks. :confused:

Other then that it was pretty straight forward. I used manual focus to set the focal point on the bulb element. I had to play around a little to get the exposure. I basically started off with the aperture at f/11, then played with the shutter till I got an almost black image, with just some hints of the bulb. Once I started I opted to change the aperture to f/13, for a little deeper DOF. Final was shot at f/13, ISO 100, 1.6. All in all it was quick, fun little project. Another advantage of the wire sparklers with their more constant burn, would be the ability to use a longer shutter.

Hot Bulb.jpg by William Raber, on Flickr

hot bulb 2.jpg by William Raber, on Flickr
 
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Roger S

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This is a great concept, William. I may have to give it a go.
 

Southern Gent

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This is a great concept, William. I may have to give it a go.
Go for it. The bulb was a little over $3, everything else was on hand, took less then 30 mins to set up and shoot. Best thing was it was all inside in the cool!!!!!!!!!!
 

Paul Mitchell

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Try taking the base off the bulb. Glue the base down and then shorten the wire sparkler. Stick it in the base and light it. Camera is all set up ready for the shot. Quickly replace the top of the bulb on the base and shoot. The glass will quickly get a white fog over it.
 

Mike Singh

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nice idea. But to do this inside ! :shocked:
 

Paul Mitchell

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Southern Gent

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Try taking the base off the bulb. Glue the base down and then shorten the wire sparkler. Stick it in the base and light it. Camera is all set up ready for the shot. Quickly replace the top of the bulb on the base and shoot. The glass will quickly get a white fog over it.
Interesting idea, but im not sure it would work. Even the smaller wire sparklers put off a lot of smoke. Containing that within the bulb would quickly cause it to fill with smoke blocking most of the sparks from view, if the oxygen depletion doesn't put it out completely first. Lastly part of the effect comes from the spark trails and slow shutter. Limiting them to inside the bulb wouldn't give enough travel.
 

Mike Singh

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Great results Paul. I am liking the rim lighting outlining the bulb.
 

Pete Larkin

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Amazing work. Love it.
 
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