Stories tagged high-speed photography

Got a light?

by mdr on May. 09th, 2014

Check out this mesmerizing, ultra-slow video of a match firing up and recorded at 4000 frame per second by the guys over at I've seen something like this before but never one drawn out this long (over 3 minutes!).


Less than one millisecond after detonation: Rapatronic camera image by U.S. Air Force 1352nd Photographic Group, Lookout Mountain Station
Less than one millisecond after detonation: Rapatronic camera image by U.S. Air Force 1352nd Photographic Group, Lookout Mountain StationCourtesy Public domain via Wikipedia
We've all seen images and films of atomic bomb tests performed by the US government during the mid-20th Century: typically a brilliant flash of light followed rapidly by a mushroom cloud expanding outward and high into the sky. But that's not the only images to come out of the Atomic Age. Scientists were eager to gather as much information as they could about every aspect of fission and fusion, and used several means to glean as much as they could from those thermonuclear tests. The mechanical shutters in conventional cameras just weren't fast enough to photograph the very early moments of an atomic blast which occurred in a matter of nano-seconds. So scientists devised the rapatronic camera, an imaging devise that used three polarized lenses and a Kerr cell to capture the earliest moments of a nuclear reaction. Two of the polarized lenses were turned 90 degrees to each other with a third polarized lens turned at the diagonal and sandwiched between them. A Kerr cell is made up of liquid-suspended electrodes and rotates the light polarization when an electric field is applied (Kerr effect), allowing for super-rapid turning of lens orientation to record some amazing images.

io9 website story
Raptronic cameras and photos

Well at least researchers at MIT can. You can watch the video below or see it on their website along with even more information.


Summer’s quickly approaching and before you know it, it’s gone. But the folks at the Discovery Channel’s show Time Warp have helped us keep summer along a little bit longer. Time Warp uses high-speed photography to slow down the action of common every day occurrences, giving us a chance to see what’s really going on.

Like here, check out the action of a humming bird at a feeder

Or watch what happens when a guy belly-flops into a pool

Here are some links to other slo-mo views of cool things, most of them summer related. YouTube does not have embed capabilities open on these videos, so you’ll have to click on the link to access the video.

Opening a soda can

Water balloon to the face

Rattlesnake rattle

Spin art with ink

Stick vs. cocoanut

Bar dominos

Whip crack on a pretzel

Car crash

Figure skater

What to learn more about slo-mo photograph, Time Warp or other aspects of this fun technology? Click here.