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Strike Fotographer Tactics

19 May 2013 | Written by Maxxum

If the last week is an indication, I've apparently entered into a phase of regularly scheduled fail posting. I'll explain. Prompted by last week's online dating fail, I decided to start practicing with disposable cameras so I could focus on art through composition and subject, rather than brute force hi-tech equipment. This is akin to the Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor Program, a.k.a. "TOPGUN", which starts with experienced pilots using decades old fighter jets to defeat less experienced pilots flying more modern and advanced aircraft.

In addition, (and this is where the nerd side of me gets excited) cheap, disposable cameras contain relatively expensive capacitors that are used to hold power for a camera flash - capacitors can be used to build things like this:

Before I continue, I must advise... don't try to extract capacitors from anything (ANYTHING!), they are dangerous and full of electricity:

So, why was I messing around with something that as a photographer I'm not qualified to understand... well, because I happen to know an electrical engineer, Andrew, and the laws of physics aren't supposed to apply to me, except when they do, which is all the time. Hence, on a Saturday, after walking around Baltimore taking pictures, I dischared 330v of electricity through my hand inside of Whole Foods.

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Andrew was apparently taking all of this in stride, based on his responses after I texted him:

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What I failed to mention in the text messages was the immediate surge of adrenaline I felt as my body recognized that the discharge of electricity, and its accompanying pain, meant that I was in some level of danger, with a substantial amount of discomfort, and some disorientation that lasted a little over half a second during the discharge. There was an immediate sense of confusion as the charge apparently flashbanged my brain and I dropped everything onto the floor.

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And, here is the resulting shock damage:

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So, was it worth it... yes, and maybe. The pictures one gets with disposable cameras are unpredictable, but when they work - they imbue a sense of limitation, and nostalgia that is as much a commentary of the era from which they came, as it is a demonstration of what photography used to be like for a lot of people who didn't have disposable income for good film or nice cameras. Judge for yourself:

6 good photos out of 27 shots; this is what photography was for me, before my family got its first film camera, which I still use 27 years later.

As for the railgun... that remains to be determined.

And, before I forget - screw you, Instagram.