A pair of boots I had been wearing for the past 13 years finally blew out last week. You might be wondering "Who wears boots for over a decade?" When you figure they are only worn for about five months out of the year and not necessarily consistent during that period, it's easy to see why they survived so long. I tend to make things last such as the vintage jacket I am currently wearing that was picked up from a thrift shop in 1996. It too is nearing the end of it's life finally but that's another story. Anyways, the fresh rubber on the new boots was highly effective in generating a static charge and I was getting shocked like crazy the other night. Not wanting to let the good juice go to waste, I set off on a few new ideas. The basic process should need no explanation if you've been following my boredom. Wanting to step it up a bit, I mashed up the phosphorous head of a match and mixed in flint particles to serve as catalyst for ignition. Initially I thought a static charge would ignite the phosphorous powder but it wasn't enough heat hence the later addition of flint particles. After numerous tries without success, a brilliant miniature explosion occurred. My camera settings were clearly too fast for the situation so I knocked it back significantly yet still encountered blow out. The entire scene width is about 3/8th's of an inch.
800 ISO, F 10 (High ISO to show control, less powder too!)
100 ISO, F 10 (Still hot but you get the idea)
The way I went about generating flint particles with ease was to do something I wish I would have been all along. Carefully removing the small flint pellet from a lighter, I scraped it with a razor blade into a creased piece of paper and then funneled the contents into a pile under the needle. In the future I will include an illustration of this technique. With a concentration of particle ammunition directly within the contact region, I was guaranteed a 100% success rate of getting sparks to fly. Taking 14 stills shot in sequence, I assembled both an image stack as well as stop motion animated gif that is probably the best demonstration of what this looks like in action.
Slowly but surely, winter is losing it's grip as evident with the detailed snowflakes that fell this morning but did not stick around very long. At this time last year I was chasing severe thunderstorms in Southern Illinois.