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“I think every photographer goes through that phase of just trying things for the heck of it. In this case I was trying to freeze motion. After looking around the house for ideas I found something that I knew would test me. I pulled a new mouse trap out of the wrapper and setup in the floor. I’ve got the speed light sitting on a light stand all the way down. As you can see I had angled down to get the shape I wanted on the floor.

I cut the bottom out of a drink coozie to shape the light more direct. I also wanted to make sure I could get it lit no matter how it moved when tripped. The camera was sitting on the floor and I had the screen flipped out so I didn’t have to lay down. After a few shots I figured out the proper exposure with a decent depth of focus. Now the fun part. How do I trip this thing and hit the shutter at the right time? I tried dropping different random objects to trip the mouse trap. I tried a marker, drink bottle cap, and anything light enough to flip out of frame. Apparently I thought an ethernet cable would be a good idea. It wasn’t. The sharpie worked but it broke from the trap.

It took maybe 20 shots to figure out the timing. I ended up using a Gatorade bottle cap. I was trying to hit the cheese with one hand while hitting the shutter with the other hand. Just hitting the cheese wasn’t enough, it had to flip the right way. That part was purely random luck. Now if I had the forethought to know this would be featured I would have swept the floor first, but I think the dust flung up is really cool. It seems to add to the action of the movement. It’s funny how the photos people like most are my personal projects or just trying things. I guess thats what brings out those different things you don’t really see anywhere else.

Post processing was fairly simple. I just made sure to clean up the shadows and highlight the dust. The test shots are untouched screenshots. Just remember when you need to freeze motion with flash you need low power settings. This shortens the time the light flashes. Full power takes too long to fully flash and go back to black. I would start too low and go higher as needed. This will ensure the sharpest objects frozen in space.” -Blake Johnson

EXIF:
Nikon D5100
50mm 1.8 G
f 5.6
1/200
shot 2-3-12
Nikon SB-80DX

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