Basics of High Speed Photography Part I

High speed photography is a very fascinating world. Everyone likes to capture the beauty of events happening in very short interval of time. Many of us have attempted to freeze rain water drop or dripping drops from tap. But most of the attempts results in blurry pictures. Here in this series of articles we will explain the proper equipment, techniques to capture very fast happening events.

Optical Photo Trigger
High speed photography is a general term referred for science of capturing photographs of very fast phenomenon. In earlier days (before digital cameras era) high speed photography was mostly relied on specialized cameras. Today photographer’s life is very much simplified with high end Digital cameras or DLRs. The blazing speed electronic controllers and precise sensors allow responding in less than micro seconds (one millionth part of a second).

Till now you may have got some idea that you need some additional things along with your camera for high speed photography. Typical setup for high speed photography contains camera, off camera flash unit, sensing and controlling unit.

Typical High Speed Photography setup
Typical High Speed Photography setup

Important Note – It is a very simple setup for a person familiar with electronics system. But it requires very much care and a proper knowledge to connect camera and flash to any electronics system. Warning: you can damage your camera and flash unit with improper connections.

Trial and error isn’t always a way.  You need precise system to freeze precise moment.

If you are seriously planning to get in to this hobby then you can develop such a system by your own or consider buying one.

Sound Trigger
Different sensors are capable of sensing various events. Like sound sensor sense loud sound of popping balloon or firework. For dropping objects in water or water drops optical sensor is required. Vibration sensor is useful for smashing objects on floor that does not create large sound e.g. breaking egg on floor.
Some other sensors with this controller can provide additional features beyond high speed photography. Motion detection sensor provides functionality to click birds in flight or animals when they cross from the sensor. Intervalometer functionality of this unit allows to click time lapsed photos.

Your camera is the key to capture all this action. Camera should allow manual focus operation and capturing pictures either with wired or infra-red remote. DLSR cameras are perfectly fine for this. Some of the high end Digital Cameras also offers these features. So these cameras can also be used in this setup with some limitations.

In subsequent articles we will discuss about the details of the setups, Camera and Flash setting.

Solenoid Valve Control
Solenoid Valve Control