The Great Pumpkin Explosion 2012 -- Pumpkin #1
* *  Mike Umscheid PHOTOGRAPHY & STORM CHASE BLOG   * *

Mon, 19 Nov 2012 21:56:01 -0600
The Great Pumpkin Explosion 2012 -- Pumpkin #1
2012 Pumpkin Explosion Summary & Images (part 1)
2012 Pumpkin Explosion
18 November 2012
I went out with my neighbors on Sunday afternoon to shoot & explode several pumpkins: from standard size ~20lb pumpkin all the way to a near 200lb pumpkin. Four pumpkins were shot at and exploded, including one of my 55lb pumpkins. My neighbor Ty and his boys took turns shooting with his AR-15 Rifle, targeting canisters of Tannerite that were placed beneath each of the pumpkins. The smaller pumpkin was shot at first, placed atop a 1-lb can of Tannerite.

I photographed each explosion using my Nikon D3 camera, which can fire off 9 frames per second in its high burst mode. I used the 600mm lens mounted with the Wimberly II gimbal head. It was unfortunately somewhat cloudy, but there was still plenty enough light to get nice stop action imagery at around 1/4000s shutter speed. That being said, in order to
achieve 1/4000s, I had to be shooting at 1250 ISO, which is really nothing for the D3. I kept the aperture at f/6.3 instead of wide open f/4 in order to preserve at least a little bit of depth of field. A countdown of "1-2-3-FIRE!" was yelled out for each shot, and I would hold down the remote cable release on "3" and capture about 2 seconds of images in the high burst mode, which would range anywhere from 18 to 25 frames or so. This worked well for 3 of the 4 shots. On the 2nd pumpkin, the trigger man (I forgot who it was on the 2nd pumpkin shot) actually fired right at "3" instead of "FIRE!", so I missed a few frames right at impact. Nevertheless, on the other three pumpkins this worked out fairly well.

On this post are the 6 frames right around impact/detonation of the smallest pumpkin atop 1-lb of explosives (spanning a whole 2/3 of a second total). The first frame of this sequence is the last frame I captured before impact, and image #2 is the first frame immediately (as in only a few milliseconds) after detonation. The frames that follow show the pumpkin fragmentation in lovely, high detail that Nikon 600mm optics can capture :)






(click on thumbnails for pop-up of larger images)