This image might look like some kind of screenshot from an old 16-bit video game, but it’s actually the first photo ever made of an atom’s shadow. Researchers at Griffith University in Australia suspended a ytterbium atom in midair, shot it with a laser beam, and then used a Fresnel lens on the other side to snap a photograph of the dark shadow left by the atom. Scientist Erik Streed has a writeup explaining how they accomplished it and the project’s implications for other research.
Seeing a double rainbow is a relatively rare treat, but how about three or four rainbows? Scientists have only reported seeing triple rainbows five times over the past 250 years, but German photographer Michael Theusner was recently able to capture this first ever photograph of a fourth-order rainbow. Ordinary rainbows (first and second order) appear in the area of the sky opposite the sun (and aren’t seen in his shot), but when higher order rainbows appear, they show up on the sunward side.
Last year, U.S. Naval Academy meteorologist Raymond Lee and a colleague, Philip Laven, laid out a prediction for the conditions that would produce third-order rainbows, and they challenged rainbow-chasers to go out and find one. Among the requirements: dark thunderclouds, and either a heavy downpour or a rainstorm with nearly uniform rain droplets. If the sun broke through the clouds under these conditions, it could project a dim tertiary rainbow against the dark clouds nearby, they said. [#]
Back in May, a photographer named Michael Grossman followed this advice and succeeded in capturing the first ever photo of a third-order rainbow. Lee’s challenge and Grossman’s success are what inspired Theusner to try his hand at photographing higher order rainbows. You can find more background info on Theusner’s blog and in his recently published scientific paper.
Wedding photographer Brian Adams and wedding videographer Rainer Flor claim to be the first to capture a wedding entirely using the iPhone 4. Flor volunteered his own wedding last November for the experiment, and a total of three iPhone 4s were used: two for the photos and one for the video.
“We proved that the iPhone technology is advanced enough to handle an event like a wedding, and simple enough that it doesn’t take a lot of experience or extra equipment to shoot high-quality video and pictures,” said Adams. “The user still has to have some creativity and a good eye, but this gives them a great tool.”
Would you rather have a great photographer shoot your wedding with an iPhone 4, or a mediocre photographer shoot using professional gear?
This is the first color photograph ever taken underwater. It’s a hogfish captured off the Florida Keys in 1926 by National Geographic photographer Charles Martin and Dr. William Longley. In addition to some special waterproof camera housing, the duo used pounds of highly explosive magnesium flash powder to illuminate the scene. Read more…
Did you know that the first digital camera invented in 1975 didn’t actually produce the first digital photograph? The first digital photo actually came almost two decades earlier in 1957 when Russell Kirsch made a 176×176 pixel digital image by scanning a photograph of his three-month-old son. The low resolution was due to the fact that the computer they used wasn’t capable of storing more information.