Shooting the Apple
An inventor and an artist, Dr. Harold Edgerton, a professor at MIT, pioneered the strobe flash, stop-action photography and a method of taking super-fast images called Rapatronic. These images allowed very early times in a nuclear explosion’s fireball growth to be recorded on film. The exposures were often as short as 10 nanoseconds, and each Rapatronic camera would take exactly one photograph.
Harold Edgerton’s most famous picture was that of a bullet going through an apple. Taken in 1964 with flash duration of about a millionth of a second using a specially built strobe, it became a very famous image. The .30 bullet, traveling at 2,800 feet per second, pierced right through the apple, disintegrating the latter completely. Edgerton used this image in his MIT lecture, “How to make applesauce,” to illustrate that the entry of the supersonic bullet is as visually explosive as the exit.
However, there are many more famous Edgertons: a splashing milk drop resembling a king’s crown; a golfer, shot at 100 flashes per second, swinging his driver into an Archimedian spiral, etc. Pictures of fencers, tennis players, rope-skippers and ping-pong enthusiasts, all caught in action sequences, call to mind futurist paintings with their frantic sequences of motion. Edgerton’s inventions for underwater photography alongside Jacques-Yves Cousteau have yielded such marvels as his photo of the top of a lava mountain thousands of feet below the ocean’s surface. His picture of Stonehenge, taken from a night-flying plane, brings the eerie stone slabs to life.
See Edgerton’s works at here.