Setting up for a Balloon Burst

I took some shots of bursting balloons this weekend using the Trigger Trap Flash Adapter. The photos below illustrate the flash and camera set up that I used

Two SB900 speedlights fired using Pocket Wizard triggers (although any simple triggers will suffice as TTL information is not required.) I covered the backlight with a zip lock back to protect is during the burst. The 2nd Flash is fitted with a snood to focus the light on the subject and avoid ambient light falling on the surrounding area.

Two SB900 speedlights fired using Pocket Wizard triggers (although any simple triggers will suffice as TTL information is not required.)

I covered the backlight with a zip lock back to protect is during the burst. The 2nd Flash is fitted with a snood to focus the light on the subject and avoid ambient light falling on the surrounding area.

I used Trigger Trap Mobile to trigger the Flash guns. The Mobile App has a Sound Sensor mode that will fire the flash when a sound is picked up by the phone. This can be either the sound of the balloon bursting or in my case the sound of a Nerf gun firing the dart at the target. (I modified the Nerf dart by adding a pin in the tip)

SB900 connected to Trigger Trap flash adapter and dongle. (I have a 3m extension lead added for convenience)

SB900 connected to Trigger Trap flash adapter and dongle. (I have a 3m extension lead added for convenience)

Settings:

This technique works best in almost total dark, this way the camera shutter can be left open for a few seconds to allow time to aim and fire the Nerf gun.

Set your flashes to manual and the power to the lowest setting (1/128th power in the case of SB900's) The Flash pulse is at it's briefest duration when the power output is low and this will help freeze the subject.

Camera Aperture and ISO can be varied to ensure that the flashes correctly expose the subject. In my case F7.1, ISO 400 and a 2 second shutter speed worked well.

NOTE: Watch out that the mobile app does not pick up the sound of the camera shutter. I suggest experimenting with the level of sound required to trigger the flash. The Nerf gun is a lot louder that the camera shutter so it is easy to set up.

Example Balloon burst. Backlit with an SB900 and side lighting with a small softbox

Example Balloon burst. Backlit with an SB900 and side lighting with a small softbox

Here are a couple of out-takes from the same session... mildly addicted to the click, thunk, splosh of a nerf dart bursting a water filled balloon in the dark