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Finger Pickin' Good by Nicolas Gonzalez

1st Place - Contrived Category

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School: Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School

Teacher: Matthew Jacobs

This is a single image taken from inside a guitar. If you’ve ever taken a panorama on your phone, you know that capturing moving objects can make them appear distorted. This is because the entire photo isn’t being captured instantaneously, so the same object can be in different places in the same shot. What you may not know is that normal photos we take with our phones use this same process and are subject to the same errors. Capturing an image one column at a time is often too quick of a process to be noticeable, but the fast moving guitar strings in this photo manage to outrun the sensor. From the peaks of these waves to their troughs, the guitar string has physically moved downward, and time has passed. The moving guitar strings are first harmonic standing waves, secured only at each end of the guitar. The apparent ‘wavelengths’ of these waves are actually indicative of their frequency. The thicker, more massive strings towards the top of the image move at a lower frequency than the thinner, faster moving strings at the bottom. In the amount of time it took for my camera’s sensor to capture this photo, the thickest string reached its peak only three times, while the thinnest reached its peak a whopping six times. In contrast, there are no distortions present in the background, simply because it doesn’t move as the image is captured.

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