Hey, Your Flash is Hawt …
Made-for-photography gels are meant to be used near theatrical light sources. So they can handle the heat. But even still, the front lens of your flash can get very hot with repeated cycling -- especially at higher power settings.
Don't believe me? Try this little trick:
Hold a piece of printer paper right next to the front of your flash and set off just one, full-power pop. Now smell the paper. That would be a burning smell. From just one pop.
When you gel, leave a little space between the flash and the gel for the super-hot air to escape. This helps with cooling.
And if you melt a gel, there is hope. I had not heard of either of two cool fixes before reading this thread, but apparently all is not lost.
And if anyone else has other methods of de-gelling your front flash lens, please share in the comments …
FULL DISCLOSURE: The flash photo up top was not actually discolored by a gel. It was fried by being repeated triggered at 1/2 power from another shooter's nearby PocketWizard.
But it really came in handy as an illustration for a fun little April Fool's post we did back in 2008…