Posted by David Bayliss

An article from a Willfield Camera Club member on a high-speed photography shoot he undertook recently.

My Final Results


How did I do it?

What to do?

Well it started with a picture I saw on flickr in the high speed group and thought that’s a great idea to try and capture and add more to (my own design). Well as normal, it turned out it harder to do than I thought.


It’s great to capture what is too fast for the eye to see and I had an IPhone App called Trigger Trap which I thought would allow me to trigger the camera fast enough to capture to photo (costs about £25 for the cable and App).


Preparation – I used a room in my house and set the gear on top of a table. As I was taking the photos in the day I used black paper roll on a stand and blacked out windows plus turned the lights out and tethered the camera to my computer.

I then spent some time finding the ideal exposure etc and also set the focus on manual to remain the consistency.  My final camera settings were F7.1,  ISO 100,  1/250 sec shutter speed.

The camera was located on a tripod and I used Adobe Light room 5 in tether mode and then adjusted the photos later.

 I only expected to get about 2 photos out of 500 which is what happened in the end – expect to delete lots of photos as it just takes patience.

First run – I set the camera to continuous camera mode and set the flash to 1/64 power so it would fire very fast – however after about 100 photos I failed to get any that were good enough ( see below).

resizedimage200331-99Second run – Camera trigger – I used a cable connected to my iPhone with an application called Trigger Trap where I can set this up to take a photo when the sound was over a limit (when the party popper went off) however it was just too slow to capture what I need

Third Run – I then switched to another device called Trigger Smart which gives the ability to amend delay time as well, plus works off sound and you can also buy Infrared sensors – prices start from £240. This worked, yippee!


Trigger Smart

Computer – for my photos as the focus is critical, I tether the camera to my home pc so I can get a closer look at every shot to check on the focus and clarity of the photos.
Camera – I used my Canon 5D Mk11 as the frames per second speed is relatively fast

Set up

As you  can see I also used masking tape to ensure all the poppers and sparkers went off at the correct position and therefore remain in focus.

Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom

About 60% of these pictures were created in Lightroom and then I merged the photos together in Photoshop plus used the free transform function to twist the smoke around.

How long?

This shot took 2 sessions and about 3 -4 hours for the photo taking, plus 3 hours in Photoshop.  However this was great fun as my daughters helped a lot

What did I learn?

It’s harder than I thought and I my initial choice of Trigger Trap was not fast enough!

To see more examples – visit my Facebook and Flickr accounts:

David Bayliss

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