Time Dilation

Lake Superior at Night

Lake Superior at Night

This photo as with many low-light photographs required a long exposure time. When I pressed the shutter button, the shutter remained open for in this case 15 seconds. After the shutter closed the camera took a further 15 seconds to process the light that it had just taken in. Meaning that the camera integrated the light it received over that time, making the image much brighter than what I saw with my eyes in the night. In addition to brightening the scene, this process also changed the scene. For example, the reflected navigation lights that appear in the lower right-hand corner were originally just flickers of light dancing off the water’s ripples as the waves touched the shore. In this picture they are about as bright as the original lights that are across the water in Canada. I’ve shown this photo before or at least one that was very similar. What is new about this image is that I’ve used a newer version of Photoshop Elements with which to post-process it and I think that that makes it a better picture.

Dilate means to make or become wider, larger, or more open, as in “her eyes dilated with horror.” Effectively what the camera does in a long exposure is trade time for a wider aperture, sort of a form of time dilation. Albert Einstein theorized the effect of time dilation as a side effect of very fast space travel or very strong gravitational forces. The recent science fiction movie, “Interstellar” portrayed the later of these two effects, when the astronauts landed on a planet near a black hole. What seemed to them like minutes were years for everyone else. I think that something similar has occurred with our alarm clock. No, I’m not speaking of the alarm going off hours too early that problem exists with all our alarm clocks, but about its actual time keeping. We’ve had this clock for a long time and it has always kept good time, but as of late it has started to run fast. Returning to the “Interstellar” scenario, I guess that since it is the clock running fast, any micro-black hole cannot be lodged within its mechanism. One of the wags at work suggested that maybe the black hole is the bed, which I took as a fat joke, except that it is this clock that is wrong, all of the other clocks agree. Most likely though that near miss lightning strike that we experienced a couple of weeks ago somehow subtlety fried its innards. Dilate can also mean to speak or write at length on a subject. I just hope that with this somewhat silly post that I have not left you the reader feeling overexposed.

1 thought on “Time Dilation

Leave a Reply