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06-01-2011, 09:07 PM   #1
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Capturing a golf club hitting a golf ball

I haven't tried this yet, but I'm curious if my K-x at 1/6000s is capable of freezing a golf club hitting a golf ball. Any thoughts before I try? A typical club head travels up to 100MPH at impact.

06-01-2011, 09:34 PM   #2
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By doing some rough calculations, I found that the distance traveled by the club head in a 1/6000s shot is equal to (100*1.6/3.6 m/s) / 6000*1/s =0.74cm.

This isn't a whole lot, but depending on how close you are, some movement blur may be induced.

I'm no strobist, but what I imagine would help is using a flash. Using whatever function allowing for light from background in addition to the now "frozen" club, I would imagine should do the trick. If you search a bit you'll find the function I mean, not sure if it's slow curtain sync or trailing curtain or whatever.

Good luck!
06-01-2011, 09:45 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by olivemike Quote
I haven't tried this yet, but I'm curious if my K-x at 1/6000s is capable of freezing a golf club hitting a golf ball. Any thoughts before I try? A typical club head travels up to 100MPH at impact.
At 100 mph the clubhead will move ~ 7mm in 1/6000 sec. The shot will have motion smear which may be fixable with software or it may contribute to the dynamic nature of the vimpact.
06-01-2011, 10:03 PM   #4
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7mm is a pretty big blur though, and the problem is triggering it at the right time -> maybe noise activated?

06-01-2011, 10:21 PM   #5
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I shoot a lot of baseball and softball games and getting a similar shot with a ball bat is difficult. A golf club is moving even faster. Still, it sounds like a fun thing to try. I'll be willing to bet the guy swinging the club is going to be one tired dude by days end.
06-01-2011, 10:24 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by olivemike Quote
A typical club head travels up to 100MPH at impact
There is a brief period (when I say brief, I mean brief as in thousands of a second if not faster) at the moment of impact where the club will slow down - this is also where you will see a lot of flex in the club itself and the slight compression of the ball.

Is this a staged shot? Or, is this a shot you are looking to get while trolling the golf course?

If it is staged, obviously it will make things much easier, almost trial and error through a bunch of shots. I don't think a sound trigger will work as the sound will actually trail the impact of the ball meaning every shot will be late - the farther you are away from the subject, the later the shot (shutter trigger) will be.

Have you asked any golf equipment supply companies? There are countless electronic devices out there these days that track swing, body rotation through swing, club speed, follow through, and a whole lot of other things for golfers these days, just wondering if there is something out there that can help you make this happen (trip laser to rf signal or something)...


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06-01-2011, 10:53 PM   #7
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to me timing is everything here.... sound is no good... by the time the sound travels to the camera and the camera fires the ball would be moving... not gone... but moving...

laser trigger a hair behind the ball... or perhaps... human anticipation... a golf swings with rhythm, which you should be able to time by feeling...... Adams said human anticipation can never be on 'automatic' with a camera... but Adams never saw those photos of bats drinking water....with laser triggers...

Stunning shots of thirsty bats swooping to lick water from garden pond | Mail Online
06-02-2011, 09:30 AM   #8
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I'd go with one or more flashes on the lowest power setting, cabletriggered by a photocell, tripped when the club approaches the ball on the downswing, as icywarm also suggests.

The set must be in darkness, and the camera shutter on bulb. Then we just need a golfer that can hit the ball in the dark. Or a mechanical arm that swings the same way everytime.

You might need some kind of scientific or special effects flash with a super short flash duration. I'm not sure ordinary speedlights are short enough for this particular application.

Fun projcet, by the way.

Regards,
--Anders.

06-02-2011, 10:29 AM   #9
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Set up a tripod. Focus on the ball. Ram the FPS all the way up. Same for SS. Get a decent DOF(5.6) not too shallow. ISO up is your friend.

Blast away until you get a keeper. Odd are you will within the parameters of physics and camera design.
06-02-2011, 10:38 AM   #10
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I did shots of basketballs deforming on the ground when I was a teenager by making a small switch out of aluminum foil and running it to my old vivitar flash. Worked like a charm.

Why not rig this up on the club head and run it up the shaft. Should work just fine IMHO. The speed of light should be able to handle it.
06-02-2011, 03:53 PM   #11
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I play a lot of golf and have been curious about this for over a year now. I have been meaning to try and set up the exact shot you are talking about but never got around to it. I would love to see your results and how you came about getting it. Maybe someone with a K7/K5 with their 1/8000 can help you.
06-02-2011, 04:08 PM   #12
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high fps will not do you any good. If you just miss it with the first shot the second shot will be WAY too late.

Most flashes will not help either as their duration will be less than 1/6000. Something like Paul Buff's Einsteins might help because they are designed for short duration (1/10,000 I think).

I imagine the difference in club speed between a 300 yard shot with a driver and a 150 yard drive with a 9 iron would be significant. And a good golfer should also be able to slow their swing down marginally for you as well. If you can get the club head to slow down from 100mph to 50mph that is going to help a lot.

But unless you actually get some serious deformation of the ball on impact you might be better off just "staging" the moment of impact.

Good luck...
06-02-2011, 04:18 PM   #13
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Another thing is what about the delay between pushing the shutter realease button and the shutter actually firing.

This thread has gotten me wanting to go to the driving range tomorrow and try a few things...

I have a pretty powerful led light panel I could use for some lighting, I am wondering how well that would work...



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06-02-2011, 05:28 PM   #14
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So it sounds possible and I'll give it a go. Doesn't using a flash keep you to 1/250s? If blur is induced and it sounds like it may be, the best shot will probably be the blurred clubhead just before impact.
06-02-2011, 05:31 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by olivemike Quote
So it sounds possible and I'll give it a go. Doesn't using a flash keep you to 1/250s? If blur is induced and it sounds like it may be, the best shot will probably be the blurred clubhead just before impact.
Well, no, off camera flash (speedlights, etc..) can get you faster.

As for the blur shot question, IMHO, the best shot would be the blurred clubhead EXACTLY at the moment of impact and hopefully you can get some compression in the ball...

Physics says there will be a slight micro second the the ball itself will still be on the tee WITH a bit of compression in the ball before the ball actually leaves the tee - that will in fact be the ultimate capture for this type of shot (clubhead blur, part of the ball compressed, the other part completely focused and crystal clear....... oooooooohhhhhhhhh mmmmmmmyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, excted to see something like this now...)

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