To take photo’s of really fast events, you need a very short duration flash. A normal camera flash lasts about 1-3 milliseconds at full power. These pictures were taken using a home built microsecond flash, a thousand times faster.
Example: a bullet travels at 1000 feet per second (305 m/s), so in 1 millisecond it would be blurred out to a 1 feet (305 mm) long blur. Using a microsecond flash, the blur would be 1/1000 of a feet or 0.3 mm.
This card deck is incomplete now (AR15, 9mm bullet)
No flames like .44 magnum flames
Bullet just left the S&W 686 .38 Special at about a 1000 feet per second.
A classic: 1911 makes for a messy shot
Microflash has more "stopping power" than a hollowpoint. Measured at 329 m/s or 1184 km/h using a chronometer. It rotates at 80120 RPM, once ever 9.7 inch.
Small balloon collapses very fast, even compared to bullet speed.
Chronometer showing 9mm hollowpoint speed in m/s (1080 fps).
Another balloon hit.
.177 pellet exiting the muzzle of an air pistol
Soap bubble hit by pellet
The air-gap flash was built from readily available scavenged and new electronic components, very similar to the EG&G MicroFlash 549.
The flash was triggered by an Arduino microprocessor with user selectable delay of about 1 millisecond using a piezo microphone to detect the shot.
Main inspiration/information for (and warning against) building a similar flash unit can be found here.
Complete flash system with tubular flash housing, Arduino in a control box and microphone.
Flash stripped from drain tube showing from left to right: spark gap, capacitor, trigger bobbin, trigger circuit and flyback driver.
Business end of the flash
Close-up of the 20mm spark gap and trigger wire.