Let's Make Robots!

High Speed Photography Help!

Hello everyone!

this is my first post so im pretty excited haha.

i want to know how to create something so i can shoot high speed photography.

an example of what i would like to do is of a water droplet hitting a bowl of water and snapping a picture when the "crown" (part of the water which gets drawn up from the result of disrupting the water bowl".

i was thinking about a laser activated "flash" which fires the flash of the camera after the beam is broken, but it should have a delay so i can fine tune it and get the perfect image.

or a sound activated flash, same concept but instead of a laser have it sound activated.

so far i found these two articles:



the problem is i dont know how to program, or what the code is for the "Picture Axe" (second link)

and i dont know if i need a code for the first one (dancing Droplets)


all in all i am COMPLETELY lost and need a great deal of help.


thanks in advance


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this triggers the camera for lighting photos ;)

Yo DJ! Nice! Have you tried this? I might just try this out next summer!

me? no sorry...


but a friend of me, yes...


look here:


ok im not a complete n00b to all this stuff, i know what a micro controller is and what a digital circuit is since i am taking classes for becoming a computer engineer. i know what MOSFETS and XOR and NOT gates and all that stuff is so please dont shut me down on things i CANT do. Currently im taking classes on Circuits so this falls into play as to what im doing. I just need a schematic and list of parts thats it and im on my way and i will post the pictures from the project as well!

Noones shutting you down. You asked for advice, and the best advice that people are trying to give to you is "learn to walk first". It's actually slightly frustrating for most of the people here when noobs like us jump online and say "hey, tell me how to make my project"....

People are much more likely to help you - or even talk to you, if you do a bit of effort and come up with a specific question "what's a good way to trigger a laser?" rather than "give me the schematics for the robots that you have already worked hard on".

What's more confusing from my noob point of view is why you don't want to follow the advice that has been given to you - start smaller, get familiar with the capabilities of your system, THEN think how to implement it. You can't force your tools to do a job when you don't know what jobs your tools can do. Seriously, go on to something smaller then come back in a 6 months.


Here is a page I found useful when making the simple picture-axe. That gave me the idea of using a SCR for triggering the flash.

Good luck!

I suggest you make a robot first! (start here link in top teft) :) can't hurt... And it will open your eyes to microcontrollers.

At least you have to understand how a microcontroller works.

If you just need a picture of a drop really fast and cheap I suggest taking 300 images and hope for one good. Use rechargable batterys in camera and flash. Here is one pic I took using this method. :)

renkkus drop

Im the inventor of Picture-Axe, and one year ago I didn't know what a microcontroller was. Now I just don't know what I'm doing, but it works. :)

I gotta give it to you straigh here, and I appologize if I am harsh... This aint gunna happen, you are not going to build a timer for a camera, at least not for a long time. Right now, you are trying to build an engine and asking what is the difference between fuel injection and a carburator. You need to walk before you run.

This is what you need to do:

Buy an Arduino, the new Uno will do fine. You need a small breadboard, some 22g solid copper wire, a few resistors and caps and pots, maybe some 2n2222 transistors and some leds. When you get these parts, plug the led into the arduino and using code, get that led to blink. After that you could plug in the pot and use it to vary the speed of the blink. After it is blinking and you know what went into making it so, you will then understand why this timer project should not be your first.

I don't mean to crap on your parade here but these folks will get nasty when you ask too many questions about step 487 when you are only on step 1,2 or 3. I wish you good luck, this is a great hobby but there is a lot of work and patience and learning.

In the meantime, you need to seek information! Google arduino, goto sparkfun and search there for parts and posts, read data sheets and google words you don't know etc. etc. etc.

ok, thanks for the tip ezekiel181 but that link you sent me for the timer costs 165 dollars, which is way to much. I am currently a college student and dont have that kind of cash. i have programmed in C++ so im not completely clueless i just havent had a great background in C++, and plus the arduino/laser pointer way of creating photographs is way cooler than just a plug and play device, not to mention a lot cheaper!

so yea  i would appreciate it if Geir uploads his tutorial on his First arduino board with the laser beam because that would help me SO much.


thanks guys