Gas dynamic and time resolved imaging studies have been performed on the growth of single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) in the laser ablation process. SWNTs were synthesized by laser ablation of Ni-Co catalyzed graphite targets at 1200°C under argon flow. The effects of the temperature gradient near the target and the gas flow rate were studied in order to understand the effect of gas dynamics over the diameter distribution of SWNTs. The gas flow rate affects the diameter distribution of SWNTs especially when the growth species flow through a large temperature gradient. Scattering images from the growth species at different flow rates was recorded by high-speed video imaging. The results indicate that the velocities of these species are dependent on the gas flow rate but this dependence is evident 30 ms after the laser ablation. These findings are used to estimate the time period for the nucleation and the growth of SWNTs.