Chapter 7

High Speed Photography

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).

Click on any photo to get a larger version.

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

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.

For more information on light and optics, see the Recommended Reading section.

Next: Stacking photos for high depth of field


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