Photo Competition

Fireballs

Fireballs

Theme: The Result of Science
Award: Winner
Photographer: Gilda Rastegar
This photo demonstrates the physics of how cameras capture light. Like humans who can only see a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, cameras can only capture visible light. The quantum theory states that light is emitted from small bundles of particles called photons. In this photo, my camera captured a stream of photons coming from Christmas lights. I set the shutter for a one second exposure so that I could record the path of my camera’s movement. I focused on my subject, and quickly zoomed out. Since my camera moved slightly during the zooming process, the zoomed path is not perfectly linear. Due to the long exposure, all the little Christmas lights look as though they are connected in long strings. The CDC sensor in my camera detected the collisions of photons. All of the points of lights hit one point, and since I moved my camera, the points of light made a path, creating a cumulative effect. When I moved my camera, the place the photons first hit was recorded and continued to add on the other registered places. As each photon hit an area on the sensor, there was more cumulative light. There was no editing done to this photo. When taking this image, I hoped to show what one can do with a source of light and the science behind how a camera captures the image.

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