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What should I try taking high-speed photos of? UPDATE1Apr10 Answered

I took the two photos below last year, and I want to try a few more for a new project. My rig is simply the flash unit out of an old disposable camera, rigged up to a microswitch. For the falling coins, they landed on a tilting platform with the switch underneath, so that the first coin to hit bumped it down into the switch and fire the flash. The droplet was just by setting the faucet to drip and poking the switch manually and getting a lucky shot.

I'd like suggestions for what to try photographing next. I'd prefer something that can activate the flash by simply pressing two contacts together (i.e., a switch), as I haven't had much luck building light- or sound-activated triggers.

UPDATE so yeah, I totally this in before spring break and forgot to mention it. The project was a magazine cover, don't knock the radd grafics dezine skillz.


.  Explosions (and, to a lesser extent, fires) are always fun.

.  Should be able to catch the "ejecta" from an explosion.

Nope. The picture is taken by setting the camera to a hugely long shutter speed, say, 15s. I then completely darken the room, click the shutter release, and fire the flash. Any sort of explosion or flame would expose the sensor before the flash fired. Explosion pictures require a high-speed shutter, not just a high-speed flash.

An explosion that doesn't involve deflagration?  How about filling a balloon with confetti and capturing the moment you burst it?  Drop an egg on your trigger and see it "explode"?

I also second the idea of mixing flash freezing and long exposure.  Why not set up the trigger so the flash goes off just as you strike a match quickly away from yourself, so you get yourself in the act of striking and the long flare of the match?  Or throw an LED throwie or similar low-intensity source like a glowstick at the trigger...

You can create some interesting effects by combining the long shutter speed with the freezing of the flash, In fact I've just had an idea, not high speed flash dependant but using the features of both exposures could be a good way to play more...

Water being an excellent example...


8 years ago

If you are willing to work on your set up some more Worthington jets are awesome. Also if you can get a droplet to hit a worthington jet you get a great crown:


Those are some examples of worthington jets from my flow visualization course (http://www.colorado.edu/MCEN/flowvis/). I took the last one using the click and pray method.

Impacts in general are pretty cool. A person getting hit in the face with a water balloon could work well. Good luck!

Incidentally, I did. The one I actually used was just a droplet (composition, lighting, etc. have to be considered), but I got some other fun ones. Microwave door in a tray of water makes a fun background. :D

See topic for new image.

Why do you watermark your images?

I watermark my art shots and scale them down before I publish them online. That droplet is actually a massive unwatermarked TIFF, which is printed 11x14 and hangs on the bathroom wall across from that faucet. These are web versions.

night time traffic from a tall building is a standard of sorts...

 Something falling... And smashing

Night-time wildlife?

Maybe rig the switch into a small stick, so a bird landing on it (at a feeder) takes its own picture?


8 years ago

I remember seeing something about a sound activated flash on MAKE...you could look into that. I'd like to see an apple thrown at the ground :D