Gravity and Stroboscopic Flash

Hello everybody,

A friend of mine expressed the idea on Thursday, in our photography course when we talked about using
the flash, to stroboscopic flash a falling egg. This idea played in my mind in the weekend  and on Sunday
I reviewed my SB900 flash manual and some items on the net regarding stroboscopic flashing like the blog
of Thomas Pitera :

After reviewing some technicals, I went to my “studio” in the basement and started some experimenting with
a tennis ball. For my set up I used :

–  a black background
– a SB900 set to the left of the subject and screen to block light to fall on background
– connect by TTL cable to my Nikon D300s
– remote trigger on my camera (here I bought  the   Wireless Remote R6F For Nikon D300s
at Ebay

I set the Flash and Camera to the following settings :

– RPT flash mode
– power 1/64
– 30 Hz Frequency
– 20 times
– ISO 200

With this flash setting you need a minimum shutter speed of 0.7 sec or greater (=number of times/Frequency
Hz = 20/30 = 0.667 sec). I did put it on 1.6 seconds for all my shots I did. You can also put your camera in
Bulb for the shooting. Important is to have a complete dark situation – so no other light falls into the camera.

After this setting I used my light meter to measure the desired Aperture and it was set to f11. You can also
shoot some trial shoots to determine the correct setting.

So here are some pictures of my tennis ball in action.

An other example – but bounced against frosted glass – set to the left in front of flash :


Ok – after these trials it was time to check the effect of gravity on an egg. I primarily used the same
settings – I just used the frosted glass as bottom. I tried the fall several times with my tennis ball
before I used THE EGG. To get also some light on the egg on the right side a did put a white reflecting
board on the right side and I LET IT FALL !

I looked to the picture and this was the result :

I was happy and not happy with the result – I had expected that the egg  at the end was more
visible – but therefore the exposure was to short. So I decided to add an additional shot
in manual flash mode and increased the f number to have a great depth of field. This was
the result :

And finally I blended them togheter with free software – so I combined both
pictures to have the final result :

It was really very interesting to learn about stroboscopic flashing – I can only encourage people to
try this at home – it is really fun. If you want to see an expert using stroboscopic flashing you can see
the following movie of Joe McNally :

So I hoped you enjoyed and hopefully see you soon again.



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