Who doesn’t get excitement out of explosions, especially when captured at a millionth of a second? Alan Sailer developed a fascination with high-speed flash photography in 2007 when he turned his basement in California into a shooting range for hundreds of inanimate objects. After a year of a very messy studio and blurred images, Sailer went in search for a much faster flash than the 1 to 3 milliseconds of light you get with the average camera flash. In 2008 he created a high speed air-gap flash based on a 1974 article in Scientific American… then his passion really started to explode.
These photographs wouldn’t be complete without Sailer’s automatic trigger system, which uses a laser beam to trigger the air-gap flash at the moment of impact… the projectile being the small pellet from his air rifle. All photographs must be shot in complete darkness to optimize the light of the flash and so the laser beam will detect the bullet when it’s only millimeters away from the target.
One can see why Sailer has continued to do this type of photography for the past years. The thrill he must get with the sound of the gun in the dark, combined with the flash at the moment his sweet target explodes is addictive! If you would like to follow in the footsteps of this entertaining photographer you can build your own air-gap flash: instructions can be found at GlacierWanderer.com. As for the automatic trigger, that will take some research as well as the right precautions.