UPDATE: Strobist was archived in 2021.
Here is what I am up to now.


Paging Doc Edgerton. White Courtesy Phone, Please...

Sorry, this isn't the Glass 'n Flash Garage Sale post that I promised. I am traveling this evening for an early morning assignment, so I'll do that tonight from my hotel room.

This is just a little quickie for those who might be interested in playing with their flashes as a motion-stopping toy. It was flipped to me by a Flickr user (Thanks, Amery!)

"Make Magazine," a cool little DIY-oriented periodical, had a piece in '04 on how to make your own high-speed flash trigger a la MIT's famous Harold "Doc" Edgerton, who did all of those time-stopping photos of a bullet piercing a playing card, droplets of milk, etc.

There is also a company that sells the little electronic flash controller for $100US, if you want to play but are not quite geek enough to build your own.

This is ideal for stopping time during one-time events, such as a drop of water making a splash, or a balloon popping.

For continuous actions (such as water from a low-flow faucet mixing with air as seen at left) you can simply shoot it with your off camera flash and get neat stuff, too.

Remember to use your flash on manual - on the lowest possible setting - to get the shortest flash duration possible. A couple of 10,000ths of a second matter when you are stopping motion.

For this photo, I just had the flash sitting on the edge of the sink at 1/64th power. I was playing with it for a story I am doing on how to conserve energy to beat rising electricity costs in the Baltimore region.

(The top photo is from the flash kit website.)


New to Strobist? Start here | Or jump right to Lighting 101
Got a question? Hit me on Twitter: @Strobist
My current project: The Traveling Photograher's Manifesto