High Speed and Technical Photographs / 4706

Prof. Andrew Davidhazy

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High Speed photograph of a wasp in flight II

A wasp flying across the field of view of the camera is frozen in flight by the light of a high speed electronic flash it triggered when is passed through the intersection of two laser beams. The flash provbided a short duration pulse of light lasting only about 1/25,000 second in duration and this accounts for the sharp reproduction of the wingtips of the wasps wings that were "flapping" more than 100 times per second. The synchronizer that caused the flash to fire, and thus make the photograph, was designed so that if the wasp passed one or the other laser beam the flash would not be fired. If the wasp passed exactly where the two beams crossed the picture would be made. This was necessitated by the fact that the photograph was made from close-range and it was desired that the wasp be in a particular location in space when the picture was made.