As a kid,
I loved pictures of things that happened too fast for the human eye to see. The beating of a hummingbirds wings frozen in time or the classic bullet slicing through a playing card photo always fascinated me.
When I started looking around...
at how to make such images, I found enough information to build something called a "sound trigger" This is a little electronic circuit that can fire a camera flash in a dark room when triggered by a sharp sound. Snap your fingers and the flash fires. Pretty neat!
Building the kit was fairly straight forward, but hooking it to the flash was not. I jury-rigged a hot shoe, of sorts, with some aluminum and speaker wire. It was crude, but it worked.
Now for the set up:
In order for this to work, you need a dark room and a remote shutter release. I set up in the garage with my camera on a tripod pointed at a board about 3 feet away. The camera was set to a 3-second exposure at f/4.5 and ISO 200 (manual focus of course). I turned off the lights and made my way back to the board where the camera was aiming using a flashlight. Here's the sequence of events:
- Grab an object to be broken (a CD, a light bulb etc...)
- Turn off the flashlight
- Remote trigger the shutter
- Break the object
- Wait for the shutter to close
- See what you got!
Because the flash...
fires so fast (about 1/10,000 of a second!) and the room is dark, the camera's sensor is able to capture the action at that speed. Its a pretty simple concept that can work with any camera with manual mode and a remote trigger.
It took a while to catch the action at just the right moment to make an interesting photo. To adjust when the flash fires, I needed to move the sound trigger either closer or farther from the breaking object. Sound take time to travel.
is that sometimes the falling pieces are loud enough to re-trip the flash and give you a double exposure. I found I had to time it so the shutter would close right after the object broke.
In the end I learned a great deal about this type of photography *and* got some pretty good images too! These are among my most popular on Flickr.
Give it a try! You might find its like being a kid again!
Flickr High Speed Group
Some Awesome Shots