Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Milk Coronet Photography

"Milk drop Coronet"
by Dr Harold Edgerton
I was looking through a book the other day of amazing images of our world. The book included microscopic images all the way through to our earth from satellite and even the galaxies. I was awed by some of the photographs, but one really stood out, because it was something that we could try to photograph at home. Dr Harold Edgerton invented the strobe flash in the 1930's and began to stop motion with his amazing photographs. One of his most famous is the "Milk drop Coronet" taken in 1957. It was this image that struck my imagination.

So my husband and I began to experiment with shutter speed and lighting (obviously we don't have a strobe flash, so we had to take the photo's in the sunlight). After hundreds of shots we managed to get some pretty amazing images of milk dropping into milk, and dye dropping into milk.



It wasn't easy to capture the exact moment when the milk formed its little crown, so we have lots of in between shot and shots that show other stages of the milk dropping. The first image shows a constant flow of  white milk running into a shallow dish of pink milk. I love how symmetric the ripples in the milk are.

f/18, 1/1250 sec, ISO-800
 This second image shows the exact moment that the milk forms the coronet. In fact, this image shows the large coronet of the first drop and a small coronet inside formed by a smaller second drop. Even at this speed there is some blurring of the falling droplets.

f/18, 1/1000 sec, ISO-800
This image shows the stage just after the coronet has formed and the droplet jumps back up out of the dish. Again, the symmetry caused by the droplet is amazing! By this stage the lighting was fading a bit (sun started going down), so the ISO had to be increased causing some noise in the image.

f/13, 1/2000 sec, ISO-1600
The final image is the final stage of the milk drop. Each little mini droplet fell back into the milk to create an amazing six spoked wheel. (Not all drops created this number of spokes, but all were symmetrical). The red dye has not yet blended, so you can see the full journey of the red milk droplet.

f/10, 1/2000 sec, ISO-1600
You can see that our images don't have the awesome sharpness and focus that Dr Edgerton's has, but they do show clearly the awesome beauty invisible to our human eyes. Just imagine the things we would see if our eyes could stop time like a fast exposure camera! 

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