Techniques: High Speed Photography

High speed photography can be done using two different methods. The first one seems obvious which is to use a fast shutter speed. If you are to use this method, you need to have a lot of light available so one option is to do it outside. People often enjoy throwing things objects in water and capturing that, for example:

28mm 1/4000s F2.5 ISO 250

35mm 1/4000s F2.5 ISO 200

The other way to do high speed photography may not seem very obvious at first. It's called High Speed Flash Photography. Interestingly enough this technique requires you to shoot in complete darkness. In this case, instead of using a fast shutter speed it uses the flash to freeze the image. Hard part is trying to get the image at exactly the right second.

Use an external Speed light and dial down the power to say 1/16 or 1/32 as this will result in an extremely short burst of light which is what freezes everything. Higher power in a flash means a longer flash duration. You can use whatever shutter speed you like as the flash it what freezes the motion in these images rather than the shutter, although generally 1/200 is still a good idea.

You can try out high speed flash on another subset of photography called water drop photography. In this case you essentially try to capture water droplets as they create a small splash. Experiment with food colouring, different flash gels or different liquids to get different effects. The following are just some basic shots of water drop photography. Use a small aperture to try and keep the entire droplet in focus.

109mm 1/250s F18 ISO 100 Flash Fired

50mm 1/250s F16 ISO 100 Flash Fired

Of course you can also use it for other items, such as having your friends jump around at night, you can use high speed flash to capture sharp images such as the following:

50mm 1/60s F2.8 ISO 100 Flash Fired

50mm 1/60s F2.8 ISO 100 Flash Fired

So that's the basics of high speed photography for you, give it a try to see what kind of photos you can come up with.


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