some occasional pho'graphs and thoughts on photography

High Speed Photography

High speed photography uses flash or strobe lights to capture fast moving objects (because in a darkened room a such lights effectively give much shorter exposures than the camera shutter).

I recently got interested in the technique and used some of the Christmas vacation to experiment.

The easiest way is to use something like Triggertrap (link) to activate a flash when it detects a sound.

I used Triggertrap in my first experiments.

Water splash in bowl

Water Splash in Bowl (sound activated using Triggertrap)

To make this work, I needed to make a cable for my flash, but this is straightforward enough.

This method works ok, but is not particularly satisfactory for experimenting at home, where there tends to be competing noises that might activate the sensors and because it is not straight forward to activate the camera shutter, the device and then making whatever happen — at least not without a spare set of hands.

So, after some web searching, I decided to make a device that would trigger the flash when a light beam is broken (to manage the sound issues) and that would activate the camera for me.

After a day and a bit of tinkering, using mostly bits and pieces from previous experiments (and a delivery from RS), I ended up with this mess.


Home Made Arduino Contraption for High Speed Photography

It is basically an Arduino with photo sensor (for the laser trigger) and optocouplers to trigger the camera and flash (see here). The contraption allows me to press a button which then: turns off some lights, opens the camera shutter, waits for the laser beam (from a laser pointer used in lectures) to be cut then activate the flash, close the shutter and turn on the lights. The setup in my study looks like this:

From tidy study to messy study

From tidy study to messy study

The results are ok (and would be better with an improved background and better chosen base). Given its all done in my carpeted study, no red wine, coloured fruit, breaking eggs, etc.

Nuts and Bowls

Water splash with nut – laser activated

Fallen Apple I

Fallen Apple I

Fallen Apple II

Fallen Apple II

Fallen Apple III

Fallen Apple III

Fallen Apple IV

Fallen Apple IV

Fallen Apple V

Fallen Apple V

2 Responses to “High Speed Photography”

  1. Zac Zdravev


    This is very cool!

    Does the apple or any falling object have to cut the laser beam to activate the flash and shutter?

    When you say” turn off some lights” does the room need to be dark?

    This would help with taking photos of Natascha as a lot of her photos have blurry parts, and brisk/sudden hand movement for example. The problems of depending on an iPhone 4S for photography!



  2. admin

    Yes. But could easily add other types of sensor or a timer.

Comments are closed.

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