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When Your Subject is Too Important to Miss

V2511

Maybe you’ve been to the park on a lovely spring day and as you’re sitting against a tree, a beautiful bird lands right on your blanket. You reach for your camera and begin to focus on the gorgeous creature. But before you can get your shot off it flies away. You snap about a half dozen clicks, but none of them yield anything. The bird was too fast for your phone’s camera. In today’s world of photography, virtually everyone walks around with a camera in their pocket. But an ultrahigh-speed camera is something else entirely.

Let’s say you want to capture the running of a greyhound on a racetrack, or, better yet, a racehorse. You would need a very high speed camera, indeed. That is exactly what happened in 1878 when Eadward Muybridge put together a sequence of photographs of a horse galloping. For the first time in the h