Spectacular High-Speed Photography Captures Light Bulbs Exploding

Photographer Jon Smith captures the precise moment when a light bulb shatters, but that's not all. He fills his light bulbs with materials ranging from glitter to oil pastels, creating a full and satisfying explosion photo that will make you look twice. Jon got his start into high speed photography as a hobby, he was looking for different techniques and he decided on high speed because it was relatively inexpensive. Also, “I instantly fell in love with the unpredictability of the photos and couldn't stop experimenting,” he tells us.

Why light bulbs? “The bulbs are made of very thin glass, which makes them easy to break with a BB gun or pellet gun. After I shot my first few bulbs, I liked the results I was getting and started imagining different shots to do with them. Eventually I decided to put water in one to see what would happen. I think seeing the light bulbs out of their element and with different materials exploding out of them made for interesting shots.”

Jon comes up with most of his ideas while he's daydreaming. As the 30-year-old says, “I think about how different materials might work or different consistencies. Sometimes I have an idea that I want to evoke in the viewer and will go from there. My wife has made a lot of good suggestions that I've really liked. Another thing I love about doing this type of photography is as soon as people see a few pieces, they start coming up with ideas of their own and suggesting them to me. It's fun to see people get so excited about thinking creatively.”

Above: Glitter

Sequins/fake gemstones

Candy sprinkles


Pastel chalk dust

Yellow paint

Gel balls

Slingshot ammo

Oil pastels

Jon Smith Flickr

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