Berlyn B. Brixner (born May 21, 1911) was the head photographer for the Trinity test, the first detonation of a nuclear weapon in July 1945. Brixner was positioned away from the explosion and had 50 cameras of varying speeds running from different locations to capture the shot in full motion.
On December 11, 1932, he fell into a volcano crater near Lanark, New Mexico and broke his ankle. Berlyn attended the University of Texas for four years without earning a degree, then worked and studied photography under Willis W. Waite, who operated a pathology laboratory in El Paso. In 1936, Berlyn worked as a regional photographer with the Soil Conservation Service at its four-state headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He married his first wife, Betty around 1940. His two daughters, Annette (born 1942) and Kathleen (born 1943) were born in Albuquerque. During World War II, he was hired at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to work on photography problems connected with the Manhattan Project in the Optics Engineering and High Speed Photography Group in Los Alamos under the direction of Professor Julian Mack, the group invented and constructed extremely high speed cameras.
At ignition, Brixter remembers "The whole filter seemed to light up as bright as the sun. I was temporarily blinded. I looked to the side. The Oscura mountains were as bright as day. I saw this tremendous ball of fire, and it was rising. I was just spellbound! I followed it as it rose. Then it dawned on me. I'm the photographer! I've gotta get that ball of fire." He jogged the camera up. He said: "There was no sound! It all took place in absolute silence."
Lights, Camera, Nano-Second Action! HIGH-SPEED MOVIE CAMERAS CAN SHOOT UP TO 20 MILLION FRAMES IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE. THE WORLD IS A MIGHTY INTERESTING PLACE IN ULTIMATE SLO-MO.(Profile)
Jul 01, 2003; Byline: Ethan Smith Correction: Published September 2003 page 11: CORRECTION The caption that accompanied this photo, which ran...