The Stroboscope Effect

I read this interesting article yesterday about the impact of technology on swimming as world records are being smashed left and right. For me the biggest gain in technology has been the camera angles and video technology. It’s so bizarre to watch a rowing race from a birds-eye perspective (although I can’t imagine competing and sensing that overhead). And then I always love seeing the swimmers catapult off the wall from under water views. When it comes to still photography these stroboscopic images [update: stromotion] take the cake! Strangely enough when I was in high school and big into photography, I managed to use this process in my 10th grade science fair project. I have no idea how they do it in this case, but we set it up in our dark garage and multiple flashes went off capturing each shift in movement.So as I was working on this post, I looked up more on the stroboscope, remembering Harold E. Edgerton’s book, Moments of Vison, that inspired my science fair project. While reading his bio on wikipedia, the second sentence under his education says: He credited Charles Stark Draper with inspiring him to point stroboscopes at everyday objects: the first was a stream of water coming out of a faucet. And while that may not mean much to the rest of you. Charles Stark Draper also happens to be my grandfather!!! Wowza! So freakin’ cool!

Click here to see more Olympic images like these (look for the word “stromotion” under diving and other sports as well).

{stroboscope images of US men’s gymnastics team via nbcolympics}


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