High Speed Flash Challenge

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From time to time during the year we set challenges for the society members…helps some of us get out of our comfort zones. The last challenge, set by Mike Lawrence, was high speed flash photography, which he demonstrated by photographing water splashes and we watched over a Zoom link.

High speed flash photography (NB not high speed synch flash) relies on a very short duration flash freezing the movement of your subject…so your flashgun is used on manual and turned down to a very low power setting, like 1/32nd or 1/64th…it’s the low power setting that enables the very short duration flash that freezes your subject in mid air.

There are special kits you can buy that allow you to control the frequency and size of the water drops with great precision, sense the drop cutting an invisble beam and trigger both camera and flash automatically using an app on your smart phone…and being able to control everything like this enables some fantastic shapes of water drops colliding with others.

However, most of us don’t have that kit. Some can make their own and others just manage with the equipment they already have; a camera, a flashgun (speedlight), a plastic bag to hold water and a pin to make a hole in it.

Of course, you don’t have to use water drops…there are lots of examples elsewhere of bursting balloons, arrows going through apples, peppers dropped into a water tank and so on…it’s the same basic process. In fact not every member chose to do water drops for the “challenge aftermath” when we show our work to the other members in a non-competitive evening.


Please note all images are copyright and may not be used without permission.

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