Highspeed Photography

Today I thought I'd try a concept that i've seen in books and videos called highspeed photography. Essentially this is capturing images with a remarkably fast shutter speed to "freeze motion" Heres a quick breakdown of the setup I used for all you photographers (Sorry for the bad drawing via ipad)

  • Boomstand with a spoon clamped to the end of the boom. Spoon at even hight with the camera.
  • Camera mounted onto a tripod with 70-200 lens
  • Red background paper
  • Two light setup: studio strobe as the keylight (camera left) on the subject and a speedlight (camera right) pointed to the background area approximate to the subject. This can be just as easily done with one light however lighting the background gives the subject separation from the background.
  • Since I couldnt find my shutter release (an off camera remote usually wired that triggers the shutter), I decided to shoot the sequence using canon's remote shooting software. For those of you that don't know what this is, its software that allows you to use the all the functionality of the camera on your computer (Screenshot below *Note these are not the actual settings I used).

  • With my setup complete I proceeded to dial in the the camera settings for exposure, ambient light, and strobe output. Once this was done I focused the lens with the strawberry in the spoon and then placed the lens on manual focus so the camera's focusing system wouldn't constantly correct itself. Doing this will give you consistent tack sharp images given that you don't move the camera.
  • With the software running, I placed the mouse cursor over the shutter button and used my bluetooth mouse as a wireless camera trigger (pretty good right!!?).

With laptop mouse in hand I proceeded to drop the strawberry into a spoonful of milk. A helpful tip is to take a few practice drops; At first I was completely missing the spoon and either triggering the camera to early or triggering it to late missing that sweet spot. Take a look at some of the unedited failed samples to give you a better idea

  • Success!! Finally after what felt like a hundred attempts I was able to put it all together.

  • Disclaimer make sure you do this in an open area as its really...really...really messy. I had milk splatter all of me, my backdrop (thankfully it was only paper), my camera, flashes, stands, and on the floor. Make sure you put down some newspapers or paper towels on the floor to soak up the discharged milk. This was a lot of fun to do so give it a try! Go out and shoot :)