My reflex and I

If you've ever wanted to take those spectacular photos of balloons filled with water just as they explode, here's what you need and how to achieve it.

We need in addition a camera with the option of manual mode, a tripod, an external flahs, at least if they are two better, a remote trigger to shoot the flash outside the camera, a foot or feet to hold the flashes , A stick, a needle, fishing thread, balloons and a water fountain nearby, unless you want to do this at home with the mop in your hand, something not recommended.

Lights is very simple, a couple of flashes to the sides and you are, with a flahs can also be done.

The first thing is to look for a park that has water sources, and some tree with a low branch to be able to hang the balloons. Once we have the location we prepare the whole team.

In order to create a natural dark background, photos should be taken at nightfall. First we are going to look for the shooting angle so that there is nothing in the frame that interferes with the light of the flashes, that is, nothing where the light can bounce (a nearby tree, any object, etc.).

We put the camera on the tripod and if possible we use a telephoto lens to keep it from the balloon, we do not want the camera to get wet. I used a Nikon 70-300mm at a focal length of 100mm.

As for the flashes, I used two, one mounted on one foot, the other mounted on a gorilla and attached to it Tree, since I do not have two feet. The gorilla like the one that appears in the image is very versatile to be able to fix the flash in multitude of places and at an economic price.

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The land here sits between the city and the streams that carry rainwater to the Rio Grande, just a few miles west, creating a landscape almost like ocean waves rolling into shore.

For the configuration of the camera and flashes there are no written standards. We have to test it, the camera will be configured in manual mode, burst shooting, and an ISO always as low as possible; I recommend,

To create the black background we have to use a aperture and a speed necessary so that when shooting without flashes we have a nice black photo, (underexposed) In my case I used an aperture of f / 8 and A speed of 1/200, maximum sync speed of my camera.

As there is no ambient light, ie the only light that reaches the sensor is that produced by the flashes, the shutter speed in It would do the same if we set the speed to 1 second than 1/200, as long as the photo without flashes came out completely dark, and the photo would not be blurred or moved, since the Sensor does not pick up that second, if not, the short duration of the flash, approximately depending on the power we put the flash, would be 1/2000 or less.

At lower power, Less flash lasts, the flash always emits the same amount of light, we have the power that we have, the only thing what it does is increase its duration or decrease it.

The flash or flashes we configure it in manual mode. The power of the flashes is determined by the distance of these to the balloon, the closer they are the less power we will need and the more bursts we can shoot, because of the time of recycling of the flash. If we put it to maximum power we can only make a shot, since the capacitor spends all the energy accumulated and we have to wait for it to recycle again and depending on the type of flash can vary from 3 seconds to more.

At last we focus and we pass the focus to manual, so when shooting in a burst the camera does not try to refocus on the successive shots.

Now comes the more complicated moment, we take our stick, needle or pin with American tape or adhesive and if we do not have a remote trigger for the camera we ask someone to punch the balloon while we shoot and to arm themselves with patience, because I have to recognize that it is not so easy to hit at the right time, the action goes very fast.

Let's make it easier, there are on the market some triggers that connect to the camera and they only act when they hear a sound, in this case when the balloon explodes.