Tuesday, June 10, 2008

An Interesting Snap Shot


Snap shot photographs have not infrequently added valuable facts to the stores of science. They are able to detect and analyze motions too quick for the eye to follow. A recent instance of the application of photography to settle a disputed question in natural history is an experiment made on a voyage from British Columbia to San Francisco by Mr. A. Kingsmill.

A large albatross had been following the steamer and keeping pace with it for several hours, and the wonder grew among the watchers on shipboard as to how the bird was able to fly so swiftly while apparently keeping its wings extended without flapping them. As this is a common manner of flight with the albatross, the explanation has been offered that the bird takes advantage of slight winds and air currents, and so is able to glide upon what might be called atmospheric slopes.

As the albatross sailed alongside of the ship, about 15 feet away, Mr. Kingsmill snapped his camera at it and obtained a photograph which astonished him and his fellow voyagers.

The photograph revealed what no eye had caught — the wings of the albatross, each some 5 feet long, raised high above its back in the act of making a downward stroke. The explanation naturally suggested is that more or less frequently the bird must have made a stroke of this kind with its wings, although the eye could not detect the motion, and that the camera chanced to be snapped just at the right moment. — Youth's Companion.

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