Back to Ian's Schlieren Photography

Using mirrors and lenses, Schlieren photography can show the hidden world of the air around us.

When light passes through air that is hotter or warmer than the surrounding air, it refracts. Just like light does when it passes into or out of water. You can see this effect on hot days as the shimmering over roads in the distance.

The Schlieren technique greatly magnifies this effect, making even tiny changes visible, such as the heat rising from human skin.