High Speed Photography

In my page about time-lapse photography, I described the software free software called CHDK (the Canon Hack Development Kit) that I can load directly into my camera, that takes over its firmware and adds a lot of very nice features.

One of the nice features is the extended shutter speed control. Not only can you take very long exposures, but you can take extremely short exposures as well, shorter than most cameras, even those that cost many thousands of dollars.

The following photos were taken at a CCD electronic shutter speed of 1/64,000th of a second. Any blur that you see is not motion blur, it is simply focus blur caused by using a fairly wide open aperture to capture more light. This has the effect of making things that are too close or too far away be a little out of focus (an effect called limited depth of field that is often used for artistic effect, or to make the subject stand out against a blurred background).

about_to_drink.jpg approach.jpg aproaching.jpg drinking.jpg in_flight.jpg in_flight_meal.jpg in_flight_meal_profile.jpg landing.jpg one_blinking_one_sipping.jpg on_approach.jpg spread_wings.jpg spread_wings_2.jpg two_at_a_time.jpg wings_and_feet.jpg water_drop.jpg drop_2.jpg drop_3.jpg drop_4.jpg

When shooting water, it helps to have a corner of paper to focus on.

about_to_hit.jpg double_drop.jpg double_drop_2.jpg falling_drop.jpg falling_drop_2.jpg flat.jpg flattened.jpg floating_drop.jpg jump_drop.jpg nice_sphere.jpg plink.jpg refractions.jpg single_drop.jpg snowman_3.jpg snowman_drop.jpg snowman_drop_2.jpg sphere_2.jpg sphere_3.jpg spherical_drop.jpg tall_splash.jpg tiny_drop.jpg tower_drop.jpg triple_drop.jpg ufo_drop.jpg

The flash duration can be controlled as well as the shutter duration. In these photos the flash was set to its maximum to provide as much light as possible.  But if you need even faster speeds, the flash can be set lower, so the subject is illuminated for less than 1/60,000th of a second.