Flash Tossing

Flash tossing, Maynoth, 2008

Ever been stuck along the lines of “Oh, I’ve taken all the photos I can think of, what else can I do?! There’s nothing left to photograph!” ? Well, a good way out of that misery — and generally a great way to fuel your creativity — is to participate in photography assignments / contest. Pretty much every photography community, forum, podcast, etc. gives out assignments, sooner or later. This basically just means you’re given a theme to illustrate and time frame to do that in. The topics are usually pretty abstract things, but sometimes it can get pretty concrete as well.

I shot the photo above for an assignment given out by Happy Shooting, a very nice photography podcast (in German). The topic was “blitzgescheit”, which is a bit hard to translate into English. It literally means “smart as a tack”, but it can also be seen as a play on words, as it combines “Blitz” – flash and “gescheit” – clever. I had spent about a week pondering about the topic, when I finally came up with an idea, inspired by camera tossing (a rather risky branch of photography, where you throw your camera in the air and see what comes out): Flash Tossing! I put my camera on a tripod in my room (at night, with the lights turned off), set it to a long exposure, released and threw my flash gun across the frame, after pushing its TEST button which makes it fire a burst of flashes.

After about 20 throws, I got the picture above. It had the nicest movement through the air, and fit nicely in the frame. Oh, and of note: I threw the flash over my bed, so it had a soft landing. However, on second though, I wouldn’t do it again, as the filament in the flash bulb might just as well have ripped, even with a soft landing… Not sure how robust they are.


  1. Wow, the effect is amazing! Did you rotate the flash while throwing it or has it started to rotate all on its own?
    Do you have a “Making Of” video? ;-)

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