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Do Flashbulbs Really Pop ?

 
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George B



Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 34
Location: Northern New Jersey

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 7:31 am    Post subject: Do Flashbulbs Really Pop ? Reply with quote

Typically I shoot at night with 11's and 40's. On occasion I'll shoot off a Wabash 2 if the subject is across the street or I'm in the mood to impress a blitz on some unsuspecting souls. Recently I came into a few hundred 5's and a few 25's. So last night I took to the street with my Baby Speed, 23 Graphic back, a few rolls of Lucky 100, a Kalart gun with a reducing adaptor and 5's. I was amazed at how many 5's I could fit in my bag ! Thirty two bulbs and I still had room for film, a digital P&S, an extra battery, cigarettes, a Zippo, and some other weird sundries. Anyway I hit on an excellent art opening in Chelsea (NYC) that was packed. With some real colorful characters at hand I decided to shoot them first before they disappeared. I prefer to pose people so after that chore I backed up and snapped a picture. To my surprise the No. 5 bulb actually made a noticeable pop noise. I thought something went wrong at first because of the pop sound, you know, like flying glass. Everything was cool except for the bulb so all was A-OK. One more shot of Mr. Muffinhead before moving on and the second bulb popped too without any consequences. A few more No. 5 shots with pops and then out onto the street to see who's hanging outside worth photographing. Those bulbs were branded Westinghouse. I then started using Technicolor bulbs on the street and those even popped a bit louder and also had a very unique odor to them. After a few snaps, a smoke, good conversation and another shot or two I went back upstairs to the opening for more photo fun. While walking up the stairs this gay debonair playboy behind me mentioned he liked my cologne. I insisted "I do not wear cologne" and "it was the odor from a recently expired flashbulb". He was dumbfounded. I believe I got some good shots afterwards. Hopefully I got the smaller GN right and get to soup and proof (scan) this week.

So, that's that on that... flashbulbs really do pop !

BTW: One thing about shooting people with a Graflex and a bright flashbulb is that they actually think it's somehow something special. Go figure ???
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Guide Numbers: It's an inverse-square law thing... www.photoflashbulb.com
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alecj



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 853
Location: Alabama

PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a "pop", which is normal, and there is a "POP" which constitutes a small explosion. It doesn't happen often, but these little suckers can blow past their plastic layer and spread shards about. Be especially careful about taking such flash pics closeup unless you have one of the flashgun covers which protected against that.

The experience of being photographed with a press camera and flashbulbs is unknown to most people now living. They still see the cameras being used as professional instruments primarily in advertisements, movies or newsreels, so the occurence is unique. Milk it while you can! For a minute, at least, you are a PROFESSIONAL! Anybody can aim a digital, held out at arm's length. They've probably never been closeup to see the camera you're using, much less having been the subject.
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glennfromwy



Joined: 29 Nov 2001
Posts: 903
Location: S.W. Wyoming

PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exploding flash bulbs can be very hazardous to your subjects and to your pocketbook. Always, ALWAYS use a flash shield when photographing people. A lot of bulbs have a leak indicator that changes color if oxygen has leaked into the bulb. The Sylvania Blue Dot variety is the most well known. If that blue dot has changed to pink, don't use it. It will explode. Bulbs do often make a popping sound. If it makes a bang, you're setting yourself up for a personal injury lawsuit. Be careful out there.
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Glenn

"Wyoming - Where everybody is somebody else's weirdo"
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George B



Joined: 05 Jun 2008
Posts: 34
Location: Northern New Jersey

PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys ! This week I'm going to make a Plexiglas shield with some sort of a hinge for flashbulb protection.
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