In a Twinkle
PHOTOGRAPHING A RACEHORSE
The San Francisco Bulletin of June 14 says: “About a year ago E.J. Muybridge succeeded in producing a perfect photograph of Leland Stanford’s trotter, Occident, while moving at full speed. The photograph was the first of a series to show the various motions a trotter’s feet and legs pass through in making one stride in full motion. The interest of that particular photograph was greatly enhanced because it showed the position the horse was in at the moment when his forefoot struck the ground. It completely upset all previous theories concerning the shape of the leg and the part of the foot which first touched the ground. The photograph represents the horse’s foreleg, projecting at considerable of an angle before him, straight as an iron bar, the heel touching the sod and the toe well above the ground. Since then Muybridge has brought electricity to play as an important part in the work of taking the negatives of a fast moving object, and with its aid he has obtained every change in a trotting horse’s position while making a complete stride. A dozen photographs show the various positions of Occident’s body, legs, and feet, while traveling at a 2:24 gait, in a stride of 18 feet 6 inches. The photographs show that a fast trotter’s feet are all off the ground at the same time twice during the making of the stride, although the best accepted authorities on the subject have repeatedly asserted that a trotting horse always has one foot on the ground while in action. These photographs have been taken by Mr. Muybridge at Menlo Park, where apparatus for this special purpose has been erected at a cost of at least $2,000. The camera is exposed and uncovered in a twinkle, by electricity, which is under the complete control of the operator. A board fence on the opposite side of the track has been lined and marked in feet, and a row of cameras are placed to correspond with these, so that the position of the body and limbs is definitely determined. The pictures are a wonderful triumph of photography.”
New York Times, Jun 23, 1878. p. 5
It seems conclusively proved that when you are moving at a higher rate of speed, you leave the ground. No wonder I feel like I have motion sickness lately. There have been too many times lately where I feel that the “twinkle” lasts longer than those moments on the ground. The air feels good, but I can’t utter much more than a gasp in response.