As a photographer I see my camera as a tool with which to capture and create. As an engineer, I see my camera as a wonderful machine and opto-electric toy. But sometimes a situation arises that makes a camera into a scientific tool. To make visible some hidden property of reality itself.
After this poetic introduction, it might seem a little mundane to tell you that this post is about the steam the comes out of my coffee machine. And in fact you don’t even need a camera – this is something that you can see with your naked eye. We own a Delonghi Icona home espresso machine, which looks like this:
Like most machines of this type it has a milk frother side-arm (on the right), that can be used for making cappuccinos. It works by forcing hot steam out at high velocity. The steam’s velocity is controlled by a valve which one opens by turning the round black knob on top.