Photography students snap fast zaps

Students in COMM 1318 Photography 1 are learning how to capture fast motion by adjusting the shutter speed on their school-issued DSLR cameras inside SPC’s Law Enforcement Technology building.  

Law Enforcement Professor Kenny Burns is firing a taser, and students are trying to photograph his shot.  As soon as Burns pulls the trigger, the cartridge inside the taser explodes open.  That’s why students are wearing eye protection and standing a safe distance away.

Burns explains that the taser shoots two long metal points with hooks on the ends.  Both points travel at high speed about 20 feet away while staying attached to thin wires.  The metal hooks  are aimed here using a dummy target.  They remain lodged in the dummy until they are pulled out.

Burns uses the same taser, without a firing cartridge in it, to demonstrate how a stun gun works.  With the stun gun, current travels between two electrodes that are spaced a couple of inches apart.  The current is clearly visible in the semi-darkened room.  Again, students are challenged to capture the motion.

Students experimented using a slow shutter speed with their cameras mounted on tripods.  This can create a photo where motion is blurred.  They also tried using a continuous shooting mode in order to freeze the motion.  

Students had a lot of fun.  Most were happy with their results.  See the best from each student below.  Each student/photographer’s name appears with his or her photo.

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