High-Speed Photography


After revealing the first two of our photography trends in 2013; 360° Panoramic Photography and Monochrome photography we’re going to take a closer look at our third trend….High-Speed photography.

To tell us more, we sat down with prize winning Nikon ambassador Morten Rygaard, an expert at high-speed photography. Morten has travelled the world taking stunning portraits of stars like 50 Cent, Justin Bieber and Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as concert photography such as U2, The Rolling Stones and Madonna.

Rygaard knows that anything can happen in a blink of an eye. Being able to freeze a moment and take an extraordinary photo at the same time is becoming even easier with the camera technology available today, which is why he expects big things for this type of “magical” photography in the future.

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Image © Morten Rygaard taken with a Nikon D4 at focal length 62mm, ISO 100, aperture f/5, exposure time 1/125 sec

Can you tell us more about what makes high-speed photography so interesting?

High-speed photography is an intriguing way to capture images that the human eye would not normally see because it is moving too quickly for us. With high-speed photography you can capture the point of impact or explosion and freeze movements in time that are happening tremendously fast. In the past, it was most commonly used in physics, health research and sports, but it is starting to open up many more new and exciting  possibilities for creative expression.

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Image © Morten Rygaard taken with a Nikon D4 at focal length 48mm, ISO 3200, aperture f/9, exposure time 1/250 sec

Why will we see more of it in 2013?

High-speed photography opens a door to aspects of our lives not normally visible to the human eye. What does it really look like at the exact moment a rain drop meets a surface, when water is poured into a glass or an egg hits the floor? Photography enthusiasts are starting to see that with a few simple tricks everyone can now find out for themselves – they can freeze reality.

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Image © Morten Rygaard taken with a Nikon D4 at focal length 31mm, ISO 4000, aperture f/3.5, exposure time 1/250 sec

Morten’s top tips for creating high-impact, high-speed photography:

Flash is key – The flash is integral to freezing the motion, which is the essence of high-speed photography. The flash should stay lit between 1/800th and 1/2000th of a second, to create the desired effect.

Place your camera and flashes on tripods – This will make the whole process easier, especially if you experiment with using numerous flashes at the same time. Try taking your shot in a completely dark room too – you will create some beautiful images if you only expose the subject to the flash output.

Control the length of the flash rather than the shutter speed – Choose the flash manual program and adjust the power to 1/128 of the maximum output to achieve an extremely short flash of light down to the second 1/38.500. It sounds very technical, but is actually very easy to work with.

Use a sound trigger – If you are in total darkness, this box will trigger the flash at the same moment that it detects a sound. The sound sensors can be used to help capture events just milliseconds after they happen.

Remember there is no one ideal method – The photography methods range from using ultra short time flash exposures to producing lots of exposures in a split second. It depends on the subject being photographed, so be experimental.


What would you like to capture in high-speed photography? Which of our three trends was your favourite? What other photography trends do you think we’ll see in 2013? We’d love to hear your thoughts be commenting below!

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  1. Andrew-Knox

    Brilliant collection and helps heaps in my learning curve.


  2. John

    Great stuff check out my High speed videos/pictures here

  3. Alex Reinhardt


    Could I use one of your photographs on my physics website? It is closed to the public except for my those with school access. Thanks!


  4. Alexandra

    Hi Alex. Thanks for your question. We are trying to get in touch with the photographer to check he would be okay with this. We’ll let you know as soon as we can.

  5. Alexandra

    Hi Alex, it’s fine to use the image on your personal website. But please make sure you credit the photographer: Image © Morten Rygaard. Thanks!

  6. Ben Roz

    Hi, great pics… will it be possible to use the first photo up on my website?
    I will be happy to give credit.