My Students came up with an idea to drop flowers into a pan of milk after they saw several pictures on Instagram. The students decided to create a technique for getting the perfect picture by eliminating all trial and error. The students created the following technique and were able to photograph over 70 photos, successfully capturing the splash every time.
I have been interested in building a device that would record the intensity of the light from our sun for a while. This past month, a colleague of mine brought to my attention a simple way to do this. Professor Michael Peres was working at his desk on a Sunny day in January with the sun low in the sky; He started to smell something burning. After hunting around his office, he discovered the sun was imaged by one of the large decorative lenses on his window. The sun had been focused onto the wooden side of his wooden desk. When he showed the burn marks to me it was obvious the desk had been smoldering for several months. The pattern burnt into the side of the desk was a record of the intensity and path of the sun.
There are still a few very unique and interesting things that can be done with film, but not with a digital camera. One of these experiments is the recording of sparks on film. Sparks are created when an electrical discharge moves either through or across the surface of the film. I first got interested in this project when I noticed static discharge patterns on x-ray film. Those patterns were due to the charge buildup on the plastic rollers in the auto development machines, but I wondered could I make better patterns in the lab?
The use of slit scan photography is actually quite old. It is often called line-scan, photo finish, or streak photography. Slit scan photography has a rich and colorful history rooted in chemical analog photography. This technique is often used to visualize high-speed events, such as missiles and bullets, although it is probably best known as photo finish photography that is used to determine the outcome of races.
In the past, slit scan photographic systems used a sheet of film that was moved past a slit. These cameras were most commonly used as photo finish cameras at races and, for example, could very precisely measure the time one horse might have won the race by. There were a number of designs of these types of systems. One of the most interesting slit scan cameras had the camera and film moving at the same time to create a panoramic picture. The last camera on the market to use this technique was the Spinner Dolphin 360 made by Lomography.
Polarized light is light that has waves oscillating all in the same direction. There are two basic ways to get polarized light, from reflection or by using a filter. When light reflects off water or any other flat surface the light becomes polarized in one direction. It is common for fishermen to used polarized glasses to block the reflected polarized light (which causes glare) so they can see below the water better. The second and most common way to produce polarized light is with a polarizing filter. Polarizing filters were invented by Edwin H. Land in the 1930’s. Land developed an inexpensive process to align polarizing crystals and fix them into position with a binder. This polarizing filter became the standard for photographic and industrial processes.