This Amazing Camera Captures Speed-of-Light in Slow Motion

If one asked me to believe that some researchers have developed an imaging system to capture light in slow motion, say about five years ahead from now, then I would probably believe it with a blink of an eye.

I was told about the same technique today (by a friend of mine) that researchers at MIT have created a camera that rendered the speed of light in slow motion. Believe me, I literally kept blinking after I heard about it.

I was filled with awe when I read about the New York Times report, which stated that “scientists at MIT have created an ultrafast camera that captures light as it passes through liquids and objects, creating a snapshot in less than two-trillionths of a second.”

Speed of Light Captured in Slow Motion

Well, if you still haven’t got the idea on why I’m so surprised, or if this news hasn’t really blown your mind away, then consider this – The video you see below would require an entire lifetime to watch one tenth of a second of footage on this camera. Hence, it is actually delayed down to 30 frames per second, so that you can actually watch the speed of light in slow motion.

The team headed by Ramesh Raskar – Associate Professor at MIT Media Lab, terms the technique as “femto photography”, which consists of femtosecond laser illumination, picosecond-accurate detectors and mathematical reconstruction techniques.

The light source used in the demonstration is a Titanium Sapphire laser that emits pulses at regular intervals every ~13 nanoseconds.

According to Raskar –

A laser pulse that lasts less than one trillionth of a second is used as a flash and the light returning from the scene is collected by a camera at a rate equivalent to roughly half a trillion frames per second. However, due to very short exposure times (roughly two trillionth of a second) and a narrow field of view of the camera, the video is captured over several minutes by repeated and periodic sampling.

The recording is done at roughly 480 frames and each frame has a roughly 1.71 picosecond exposure time. A fixed delay is maintained between the laser pulse and the movie start time. After all the process, an algorithm uses the captured data to compose a single 2D movie of about 480 frames.

Speed of Light Captured in Slow Motion

Raskar also notes that the use of such cameras can be done in “Medical Imaging, Industrial or Scientific use, and the future for even consumer photography.” He also explains that one can use this technique in Industrial Imaging to analyze defects in objects and materials, while in consumer photography, people are generally fascinated about lighting effects, and with this we can create photos showing how photons move through space and analyze their movements.

NASA’s Incredibly Awesome Time Lapse View of Earth from Space

One of my favorite time-lapse photography was the one created by André Chocron, which I had posted about it earlier in the best examples of Time Lapse Photography post. That favorite has now been replaced with time lapse sequences of photographs taken by Ron Garan and the crew of expedition 28 & 29 on board of the International Space Station from August to October, 2011, called the Time Lapse View of Earth from Space.

NASA posted the time lapse view of the Earth from space, which was shot using a special low-light 4k camera that shows up the Aurora Borealis around the globe. This piece of footage is incredibly awesome, providing with some unbelievable scenes from the International Space Station that raced the earth at nearly 17,227 mile per hour at an altitude of around 350 km. The images were captured with a high ISO HD Camera developed by NHK Japan, nicknamed the SS-HDTV camera.

The time lapse view of the earth from space starts over the USA and travels through Madagascar to South West Australia, and also covers the Eastern Europe to South-eastern Asia at Night.   This time-lapse features stunning shots of the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis, lighting storms, and amazing images of Earth’s cities at night!

At 4:39 we can notice parts of the Indian state, starting from Gujarat and goes through Karnataka (Bangalore), Tamil Nadu (Chennai), and lastly Sri Lanka.

Shooting locations in order of appearance:

  • Aurora Borealis Pass over the United States at Night
  • Aurora Borealis and Eastern United States at Night
  • Aurora Australis from Madagascar to southwest of Australia
  • Aurora Australis south of Australia
  • Northwest coast of United States to Central South America at Night
  • Aurora Australis from the Southern to the Northern Pacific Ocean
  • Halfway around the World
  • Night Pass over Central Africa and the Middle East
  • Evening Pass over the Sahara Desert and the Middle East
  • Pass over Canada and Central United States at Night
  • Pass over Southern California to Hudson Bay
  • Islands in the Philippine Sea at Night
  • Pass over Eastern Asia to Philippine Sea and Guam
  • Views of the Mideast at Night
  • Night Pass over Mediterranean Sea
  • Aurora Borealis and the United States at Night
  • Aurora Australis over Indian Ocean
  • Eastern Europe to Southeastern Asia at Night

Scott Kelby’s 4th Annual Worldwide Photo Walk 2011 Announced

A photo walk is a free event where photographers, be they pros or an amateur, meet up at a place and walk around a pre-determined area capturing the streets and things around. It lasts not more than two hours depending on the area. Photo walks are a perfect start for beginners  as they can get to interact with professional photographers and learn new things for better photography. It is basically called ‘Knowledge Transfer’ (KT).

There are several groups on Flickr that organize photo walks. Each of these groups is based in different cities in the world, and focus on different places and themes. Photo walks are organized every week or every month or even every year. Photographers collaborate with each other in their respective groups and decide on an area to walk. At times photographers choose a place that is thousands of miles away from their homes.

Usually photo walks happen during early hours of the day, and at the end of the event, all photographers go for a Dutch treat for refreshments. This particular time is for KT. Photographers mingle with each other, exchange photography tips, share recommendations and so on. Once the event is over, the photos captured can be uploaded and added to the photo walk group on Flickr or shared using other networking  platforms  like Facebook and Tumblr.

One such event is the worldwide photo walk, organized by the renowned photographer Scott Kelby. It takes place on a specific time every year. Every city that is registered will have an organizer who has to organize a photo walk on the specified dates. The event is open to public in general regardless of age, sex, professional or beginner, phone camera or DSLR camera, level of knowledge in photography or whatever. It just requires you, your camera and your creativity.

Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk

The objective of this event is to bring in together thousands of photographers of all ages and levels to take pictures, share and promote coexistence among those who agree with the same passion: Photography.

Scott Kelby announced the Fourth Annual Worldwide Photowalk 2011 on October 1st and 2nd. Registration for the event is completely free. To participate, all you have to do is to search for your city and click on the “Join This Photowalk” button. Each walk is limited to 50 participants, so try to registers as soon as possible.

Photowalk Bangalore

Once you have successfully registered, you will be notified about the venues, schedules and instructions by the organizer via email.

Although it is a non-profit event, it holds a contest for all its attendees who stand a chance to win the following

Grand Prize Winner Will Receive

  • Full Adobe CS5 Suite
  • Epson R3000 Printer
  • PhotoshopWorld Ticket
  • Full Library of Kelby Books
  • iPad (32GB)
  • $500 B&H Photo Gift Card
  • 2 Light Kit w/Box Stands, Clamps & Case from Westcott
  • Nik Software Suite
  • OnOne Software Suite
  • One Year NAPP Membership
  • One Year Kelby Training Subscription

10 Finalists Will Receive:

  • Nik Software Suite
  • OnOne Software Suite
  • One Year NAPP Membership
  • One Year Kelby Training Subscription
  • Scott Kelby’s Light It, Shoot It, Retouch It Book
  • $100 B&H Photo Gift Card

You will be notified via email about the contest after the event. Sign up, pack your gears and get ready for the worldwide photo walk!

Protect Your Photographs from Being Stolen on the Internet

Most photographers work hard in protecting their photos from being used by others. This is one of the greatest challenges that photographers are facing when it comes to protecting their work. Despite several techniques like watermarking and copyrights, protecting pictures has become nearly impossible.

Although the Internet has changed a lot of things on how art is shared and distributed, it has also shown a way to steal them. Thousands of photos are uploaded every day on free/paid hosting sites such as Flickr, 500px, Picasa and elsewhere. If the hosting service  provider  says that the photos uploaded are protected, then they are wrong. There are several back entries to gain access to them (Well, viewing the source code is one way).

I have to admit, nothing on the internet can be protected. The best way to protect your art/photos from being downloaded or stolen is to not upload them online. However, it is possible to make image theft harder, but like I said, there is always a back entry.

This article reveals some of the techniques required in order to protect your photos from infringement, ranging from preventing downloads from blogs, finding unauthorized usage of images and modifying your photo’s EXIF data. Let us take a close look at each of these techniques.

Preventing Downloads

Photos uploaded on your photo blog can be prevented in several ways. Here are two basic, yet useful ways – disabling Right-click using Javascript and placing images as a background to Tables.

Disable  Right-click using Javascript:

When you right-click on an image, you have an option to save it. Disabling right-click will prevent visitors from saving your images. To do so, just add the following code in your HTML page –

Place this javascript code after the <head> tag.

<script type="javascript">
<!-- Begin
function disableRightClick(e) {
var msg = "Go hang yourself!";
if (navigator.appName == 'Netscape' && e.which == 3) {
return false;
if (navigator.appName == 'Microsoft Internet Explorer' && event.button==2) {
return false;
else return true;

function onRightClick() 
      document.images[i].onmousedown = disableRightClick;
      document.images[i].onmouseup = disableRightClick;
// End -->

Replace <body> tag with this –

<body onLoad="onRightClick()">

Placing Images as a Background to Tables

You can place your photos as a background image to Tables. Doing so, will remove the option “Save image as…” from the right-click menu. Replace the background-image with the URL of your image in the code below –

<table style="background-image:');

Here’s a demonstration of the technique.

Right-click on both the images to see the difference.

Alternatively, you can hide your image behind a transparent image. i.e., by placing a transparent image within the table data <td> cell. This will, however, enable the Save image as…option, but when someone tries to save/download the image, the transparent image will be downloaded instead of the original image.

Here’s a demonstration.

Right-click and save the image below and see what you have downloaded.

Finding Unauthorized Usage

Recently, Google introduced a new functionality to Google Images where users can search photos by just dragging them into the search bar. Impressive enough, however, the feature focuses on finding similar photos, but not exact ones. To find if your photos are being used elsewhere, you can make use of TinEye. Designed by Idèe, TinEye can be used as an alternative to Google Image search. It is a free image search service that allow photographers to upload a picture and then search for the same image across the Internet.

TinEye allows you to either upload an image or enter the URL of the image, in which the attributes of the image are analyzed instantly, and its fingerprint is compared to the fingerprint of every single image in the TinEye search index. It then provides a detailed list of websites that are using the image.

Modifying EXIF Data

Almost all digital cameras save JPEG files with EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data. EXIF data contains camera settings such as camera model name, lens, shooting mode, exposure and so on.

When you are uploading a photo online, make sure that you edit the EXIF data and add your information (like your name) in the comments field. It is rare to find infringers to go through the EXIF data and modify it. When you come across someone using your photo without your knowledge, you can sue them for it.

Creating HDR Images with Photoshop, Quick and Easy

High Dynamic Range-technique (HDR) is a photography technique that is achieved by shooting two or more standard photographs, taken at different exposure levels, and then merging them together into an HDR image. The merging of these photos can be done with the help of photo editing tools such as Photoshop and Photomatix.

HDR can create extremely beautiful pictures that highlight the viewer’s perspectives, which can make the picture, look more realistic.

In this tutorial you will learn how to create or transform your pictures into HDR by tuning them with the help of Adobe Photoshop. Unlike the actual HDR technique, this Photoshop trick will require only a single JPEG image. You don’t have to shoot into RAW images or take multiple photos.

Note: In this tutorial, I’m using Photoshop CS5 (CS4 compatible), so there might be a few changes with regard to menu options if you are working with CS3 or lesser.

You may also be interested in the following  related posts:

End Result

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 1

Open the image that you want to convert to HDR

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 2

Go to Image -> Adjustments and click on Shadow/Highlights. Set the Shadow and Highlights to 45-50%

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 3

Now, duplicate the layer by pressing Ctrl + J on PC. Desaturate the duplicated layer by pressing Shit + Ctrl + U (Or Image -> Adjustments and click on Desaturate). After that, change the layer blending to Hard Light

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 4

You’re almost there. Now to make the picture look more realistic, let’s add extra colors to it. Duplicate the base (original) layer again, and move it on top of the other layers as shown below.

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Next, go to Filter -> Blur and select Gaussian Blur, and set the Radius to around 35 pixels. Now, change the layer blending to Soft Light.

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

Step 5

You’re done. If you’re not satisfied with the effect, then you can redo the above steps to give your image a strong effect.

HDR Photoshop Tutorial

P.S. The image used in  demonstrating  this  tutorial  was shot by me sometime back. I request you to link back to my Flickr page or this tutorial if in case you are using it elsewhere.

Stunning and Inspiring Macro Photography

I am a big fan of macro photography. I started shooting with a Sony Cyber-shot point and shoot digital camera and ever since, I have liked the art of macro photography. The best part of macro pictures are the minute details that they reveal. I never got a chance to play with macro photography despite owning a DSLR, as I do not own a macro lens. However, I am inspired with all macro photographs that are uploaded on Flickr and elsewhere.

Macro photography is the art of taking close-up pictures that reveal every detail that goes unnoticed by the naked eye. It’s altogether a different world inside. Point-and-shoot digital cameras have good macro capabilities, but for best results you would require a special single-lens reflex camera.

Photography can serve as a nice source of inspiration. Given below is a collection of some truly inspiring and amazing macro photographs from various professional photographers. Go feast your eyes!  (You can click on the images to see larger versions of the photographs or find more information of the photographer.)

You may also be interested in the following related posts:


Heliotropium ellipticum

Heliotropium ellipticum

Honey Bees on the Comb

Honey Bees on the Comb

Igor Siwanowicz

Igor Siwanowicz

The Last Warrior

The Last Warrior

Blue Smoke

Blue Smoke





Dropside Down

Dropside Down



Pearl Drop

Pearl Drop



Eye of a Tokay Gecko

Eye of a Tokay Gecko

Cat Eyes

Cat Eyes



Eyes of the Hunter

Eyes of the Hunter



Caterpillar – Reverse Lens Technique


Red Veined Darter

Red Veined Darter

How It’s Made – Camera Lenses [Video]

Have you ever wondered how camera lenses are manufactured? Why it takes days to make a new lens? Well, here’s an interesting look into how lenses for DSLR cameras are made. It takes a total of six weeks to make one optical lens. Camera lenses go through several inspections to make sure that the glass gets to the final stage without defects or any dust particles on it.

Here’s a video that demonstrates how camera lenses are made –

The Process:

There are four main manufacturing processes.

  • Grinding and Polishing lens elements
  • Coating lenses
  • Producing the barrel
  • Assembling the lens

The videos show a step-by-step procedure on how a Canon 500mm lens is made. These videos were taken in Canon’s lens manufacturing factory in Japan.



The steps in  manufacturing  a  camera  lens is not (all) computerized. Camera lens requires  fine adjustment and testing until computerized machines are used.

In the above video, you can see that the manufacturing of the lens  goes through a series of steps. Here are the lens manufacturing steps as shown in the above videos:

  1. Material blending
  2. Pre-fusing
  3. Melted glass is allowed to cool naturally
  4. Cutting the glass into pieces
  5. Fusing
  6. Mixing
  7. Churning
  8. Clarification
  9. Homogenization
  10. Shape the glass into sheets
  11. Shaping and pressing process
  12. Grinning processes
  13. Heating the glass and form its shape by pressing (by hands or by automatic machines)
  14. Annealing
  15. Further polishing
  16. Rough grinding that produces that curved surface of the lens
  17. Fine grinding
  18. Polishing and surface curvature adjustment
  19. Optical inspection
  20. Clean with ultrasonic washing machines
  21. Alignment
  22. Coating
  23. The lens assembly process itself (done by hand for Canon L lenses)

Hat tip to Digital Photography Writer for sharing this.

Speeding Up Things with Time-lapse Photography

Time-lapse photography is a cinematography technique that has been used since 1890s and was mainly used by film makers to speed up time. It is considered to be the opposite of High Speed Photography.

Time-lapse photography is shooting a sequence of photos of the same subject with certain time interval between each shot. The interval may vary from less than a second to an hour or even more than a day. These pictures are then clubbed together into one video that plays back in a shorter amount of time.

In other words, time-lapse photography is “the art of compressing a long period of time into a shorter one during playback”. For example, the technique can be implemented to shoot/record the blooming of a flower with a time interval of one day and can be continued for over a period of ten days. Once you have all the images in order, they are then wrapped into a video that lasts for just few minutes. When the video is played at normal speed, time appears to be moving fast and thus lapsing.

Here’s a selection of best examples of Time Lapse Photography coupled with sensational music which you will watch them over and over again.

#10 Growing a Plant

This was shot using Pentax K110D and Harbortronics DigiSnap 2100 set to take a frame each 29 minutes and 45 seconds. The time lapse period lasted for 10 days. Two 90 watt compact floresecent lights where used for both the camera shooting light and the grow lights and were on 24 hours.

#09 Stuttgart, Germany

Time-Lapse Photography of the German city – Stuttgart, showing 20 Locations in less than 10 minutes.

#08 Dandelion

Time lapse of Dandelion flower to seed head. The Dandelion clock filmed continuously over a period of one month. Intervals between 5-45 minutes.

#07 Get Up and Go (Tokyo, Japan)

Speeding up time in the city of Tokyo by Stefan Werc

#06 The Longest Way

Christoph Rehage spent one year on foot – 4646km walking across China from November 9th 2007 – November 13th 2008. Unlimited beard & hair growth!

#05 The Milky Way

#04 Speeding Up Life

#03 Shape of Things to Come

A brilliant and fascinating time lapse video capturing the movement of the skies, the stars and everything else – done by 599 Productions.

#02 Madrid, Spain

If you are planning to visit the fabulous city of Spain – Madrid, then be sure to watch this spectacular and gorgeous video by Senses.

#01 Time is of the Essence by André Chocron

This is one of my favorite and it is one of the best time-lapse photography I have ever come across. André Chocron has just inspired me with this piece of art. Hats off to him. Watch the entire video and I bet you’ll be blown away!

André Chocron is a Norwegian director who has created what might be the world’s best, and perhaps only, music video featuring nothing but architecture.

After watching the above time-lapse photography, I’m quite fascinated to give it a try by myself. If I’m successful in it, I’ll post the video here with a complete step-by-step guide.

I hope you have enjoyed the collection. You may also like to read an article on Understanding Long Exposure Photography and the Technique Involved and a step-by-step tutorial on Writing Your Name Using Long Exposure Photography.

[Tutorial] Long Exposure Photography: Writing Your Name

In my previous article, I explained about long exposure photography, the technique involved and the important features and materials you require while shooting photos in slow shutter.  In this article, I’ll show how you can take long exposed photos. In this simple tutorial, you’ll learn how to create the following effect – Writing your own name

Long Exposure Photography

Materials Required

Flashlight or LED

You can use any kind of light source, but make sure that you can control the light. For best results, stick to a flashlight or an LED.

Setting Up Things

First things first. Get your camera and set it on your tripod or on a flat surface (make sure it does not shake). Set the focus of your camera using the auto-focus mode or AF mode. Once the camera is focused, switch it to manual mode and do the following changes:

Set your camera ISO to 100 or 200. Always use lower ISO when doing long exposure photography. It reduces the noise.

Shutter Speed
Since we’re writing a name, we require ample amount of time. Therefore, we need to keep the camera shutter open for a longer period. I took about 20 seconds to write my name. I suggest you to set the shutter speed to at least 30 seconds.

Aperture completely depends on your lens/zoom, focal, exposure etc. I generally use f/11. Depending on the conditions, figure out what aperture suits best and set the aperture.

Once you’ve changed the above mentioned settings, you’re now ready to go.

Turn off the lights and press the shutter-release button. The camera shutter is now open. Without shaking the camera, slowly go and stand in front of it. Turn on the flashlight and start writing your name in mirror image (or you can draw/scribble something). The shutter will close after 30 seconds, so you need to be as quick as possible.

You may commit a few mistakes, but repeating the steps several times will definitely give you a result.

Now you can start experimenting with different colored flashlights to get some nicely exposed pictures. Use your art and make it look colorful! Here’s something you can try as well. Turn yourself into a ghost!

Long Exposure Photography

P.S. You need to remotely trigger the shutter-release button to do this, so you will need a wireless remote.

Understanding Long Exposure Photography and the Technique Involved

There are several styles and techniques in photography and one among them is long exposure photography which is one of the coolest ways of taking pictures. You might have come across some stunning shots of fireworks or water flow or the traffic (light) trails. These involve the technique of long exposure photography that create ghostly effects like transparent silhouettes. Lets see what long exposure photography means.

What is Long Exposure Photography?

Long exposure photography refers to long shutter speeds. Long shutter speed is a specific technique of taking photos with the camera’s shutter open for a long time. This allows more light to enter the camera until the shutter is closed. Technically, the camera reads more data from the scene and gathers more details, creating some extraordinary effects.

Long exposure is often used at night-time, when there isn’t much of natural lighting. However, this technique can also be used during day-time to give foggy/ghostly effect like, flowing water or moving clouds.

Now that you’ve known what long exposure exactly is, lets now understand the technique involved in it.

The Technique

The technique involved in long exposure photography is a scene containing both stationary and moving objects. For instance, lets take the street. There are moving vehicles and non-moving objects like trees and buildings. When the shutter is exposed for a longer period, effects such as light trails of moving vehicles are created.

Here’s how it looks

City Traffic

Features and Accessories Required

Not that you the technique, lets understand some features and materials required for long exposure photography.

Shutter Speed

To take long exposure photos your camera requires a longer shutter speed, anywhere from 1/4000 second to several minutes or even a hour. If you’re really interested in night photography and long exposure photography, then make sure you get a camera that allows the longest shutter speed.

Manual Mode

While taking long exposure photos, always ensure that you shoot photos in Manual (M) mode. That way, you will have full control over the settings in your camera – like aperture and shutter speed. If you shoot in Auto (A) or Program Auto (P) mode, chances are there that your pictures may come out dark.


A tripod is very much essential in long exposure photography. There are chances your camera might shake while taking photos. When you let the camera shutter stay open for a long time, you need to ensure that your camera doesn’t shake, else you will lose the quality of your photos or end up with blurred images.

If you don’t have a tripod, then you can place the camera on a flat surface and make sure that it doesn’t shake.

Remote Control

Another accessory you may need is a remote control. You can remotely control your camera in order to avoid pressing the shutter release button to take photos. However, this is not required if you’re careful enough while pressing the shutter release button.

You’ve now known what long exposure is, the technique involved and the important features and accessories you require while shooting photos in long exposure. In my next article, I’ll come with a tutorial to show you how you I managed to get this –

Long Exposure Photography

Until then, below are some stunning and great examples of long exposure photography.

Blue Blur


Spinning Wheel

Blue Blur

City Traffic

SF Bridge

Moving Stars