Guide to High Speed Photography

The goal of the high speed photography is capturing objects in motion. Catching an interesting event such as an impact requires a predictable sequence. In such cases you want to be able to detect a trigger, wait for an event and take a picture.

In order to capture a falling drop hitting the surface of water, you need to detect the time when the drop starts falling. Next, you create a delay between the trigger and the event. Finally you take the picture. This is where the Universal Photo Timer is used.

There are two methods for performing high speed photography with the Timer. The first method uses a shutter of a camera. The second method uses an electronic flash.

The main advantage of the shutter method is that it can be used outdoors with full light. The subject and the background can be fully illuminated. However, since the shutter is used to freeze the motion of the subject, it offers a limited speed. Maximum speed of a shutter could range from 1/4000sec to 1/8000sec, in some cases it may not be fast enough (fast moving objects will become blurred).

Moreover, in cameras that have a focal plane shutter, a small slit moves across the photographic plane at much slower speeds (1/250), thus exposing different parts of the photographic plane at slightly different times.

Finally, there is a delay between the shutter release and the actual exposure. It could be as much 100ms or more (depending on camera). In addition there could be a small variation in timing, each time the camera takes a picture. Therefore this method should not be used when high timing accuracy is required.

The second method of high speed photography is the flash method. The picture is taken by opening the shutter of the camera, activating the flash and closing the shutter. The picture needs to be taken in a dark room. Because the room is dark, the long exposure time will not have any effect on the final output. The flash light duration now becomes the actual exposure time.

The main advantage of the flash method is the exposure speed and better timing consistency. The lag between the trigger and the flash strobe is insignificant. Electronic flashes are also capable of light strobes with durations of 1/10,000 or faster (lower the power setting of the flash, the shorter the flash duration).

The disadvantage of this method is that the picture needs to be taken in a dark room to avoid the over exposure. Also since the flash is used to make the exposure, it may be more difficult to provide a uniform lighting or to illuminate the background. Universal Photo Timer solves this by providing two flash outputs giving you more control.

The Timer contains a number of useful features that take advantage of the integrated flash and camera control. In particular, "camera plus flash" mode allows you to automatically open the camera shutter, activate the flash in response to a trigger and automatically close it immediately after the flash is activated.

You can look for inspiration from other photographers. You can also become a pioneer and invent new ways of looking at high speed photography. Universal Photo Timer is a very flexible tool that will help you to expand your creative side.