With high speed photography, I can use a high voltage spark to create a flash of only 1/1,000,000th of a second in duration. The problem is that there are not a lot of things that move this fast that such a flash is required to stop the motion. Bullets are such a subject requiring a very high speed flash system. Around the lab we jokingly call this “ludicrous speed”. After photographing bullets hit just about every conceivable object it is time to move on to other subjects. In this case a paint ball is sent into the edge of a straight razor blade. The paint ball crosses two optical detectors that measure the velocity (166 feet per second) then trigger the flash when the paint ball has traveled about 12 inches. The momentum of the paint ball keeps the ball in motion even after being sliced in half by the razor blade. A wonderful way to illustrate Newton’s Law of Inertia – that is, an object in motion will stay in motion until a suitable force is applied to stop it.
With many photo sessions once the photography is done we will stand around looking at all the equipment set up and wonder what else we can do with it before the set has to be disassembled. At this point someone wondered what would happen if the paint ball were to hit an egg?
The results above show that the paint ball hits at such a speed as to break, then force the yolk out the other side before moving through the rest of the shell. Shots like this create a tremendous mess and parts of the lab will have pinhead specks of pink paint ball dye and dried egg yolk for years to come. I hope this image excites the minds of a few readers. I always welcome ideas, even though it is often years before I get around to doing a certain project.
This post was written by Ted Kinsman for Photo Synthesis.