TPB #27 – Flash Powder Photography

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This week I compare a modern electric photography flash to flash powder. Flash powder was an advanced lighting technique 150 years ago that photographers used similarly to how photographers use a flash today. In this video there are various tests with flash powder. One of the tests is a simple scene that was lighted with a modern flash and then flash powder so we can compare the images. Overall I was quite impressed with the amount of light that even a small amount of flash powder makes; however, there were many disadvantages to flash powder.


About the Author:

Maurice is a computer engineer, photographer, and all around renaissance man.


  1. Tyler Olson  November 11, 2011

    Great vid Maurice. I’m glad some people are still diving into the old tech and not forgetting where things came from. There is lots to be said for ‘process’ which the old tech certainly has lots of. I bet the first photographers who went over from Flash Powder to electric flash missed the sweet smell of a smoke filled studio 🙂

  2. Aaron J. Grier  November 12, 2011

    you missed the step between flash powder and electronic flash of flash bulbs and cubes, which can be electronically synced.

  3. Maurice  November 12, 2011

    Aaron, I mention flash tubes in the video. I was kind of grouping bulbs and cubes into this group, but you’re right that those are slightly different and more refined versions of the first flash tubes. Thanks for adding the info.

  4. James B.  November 17, 2011

    This is very neat, my old science teacher showed us this. I think its magnesium? But good video something different and very informative!