Wednesday, May 21, 2008

OT: High-speed Flash Photography - 15 May 2008

Not bird-related, but could have future implications. Thanks to buddy Ken I borrowed a high-speed flash trigger and played w/ it a bit in the lab and at home. The unit is very simple: a computer microphone connected to a triggering device that fires the flash from a disposable camera using sound as the trigger. A delay and gain dial can be manipulated to adjust the sensitivity.
I blew up blue nitrile gloves in the lab and popped them using the flash unit. D300 set on Manual exposure, 30", f/22 using a Sigma 18 - 50 Macro. Turn lights off, press shutter, activate flash on the hand-held camera, popped the gloves w/ sharp forceps, hopefully get flash, turn off D300. The microphone is extremely sensitive to noise.

First attempts were surprising! The tips of the forceps contacting the balloon apparently makes an inaudible screech that triggers the flash 'before' the balloon 'pops'. So I made successive attempts with additional gloves, each time moving the microphone farther away each time.
I was able to
capture the forceps penetrating the balloon up to several millimeters before the balloon popped open. After a few attempts, I got what I was looking for. Success! I was able to capture several images of a balloon in mid-pop. Way cool!

Next thing to do was to go home and look for something to break. I couldn't get any balloons from the local stores, so I opted for an old light bulb. I tried dropping it from 12 - 24" inches, but the dern thing kept bouncing. So the only thing I could do was drop another weight on it.

Clean up the mess before the wife kills me, and run off a happy camper!

Thanks again, Ken!

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