The Story Behind the Shot: Freezing Fast Motion in Time

Posted on January 21, 2015

Back when I actually had free time I would play around with all sorts of photographic principles. One thing I was always intrigued by was freezing very fast motion in time. Even very expensive cameras can only operate their shutter at 1/8000 of a second. For most things this is incredibly fast, for my purposes it wasn’t even close.

The image above was created at 1/20000 sec. To do this I actually had to take the picture in a totally dark room. I filled a water balloon and strung it up over the sink in my laundry room. I set up the camera, and connected the flash with a standard sync cable (a common cable in flash photography). Inside the cable are two separate wires, if you touch these wires together the flash will fire. I arranged my whole scenario and set the flash and camera to the proper manual exposure. I made a loop with one side of the wire and connected it to the balloon. By putting the other side of the wire through the loop it will fire the flash when the balloon moves causing the wires to touch. After lining up with a dart I had a friend turn off the light. I opening the shutter on the camera I tossed the dart (luckily hitting the balloon) causing the whole chain reaction to take place. The resulting image captures a moment in time before the water looses its balloon form.


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