Image of the Month – June 2012

June’s “Image of the Month” is this very high-speed capture of an airgun pellet entering (but not quite exiting) a water-filled balloon.  It is the extremely fast flash duration time of just 9-microseconds (1/111,111th of a second) that allows such dramatic images to be captured – together with the energy contained within the light pulse.  I first made these units around 30 years ago for my brother Alan who wanted portable, high-power, high-speed Xenon flashguns for taking images of birds in flight.  When he first gave me the specs for the units I said it couldn’t be done – but it was such an interesting project that I kept it on the back-burner until the technology improved to the stage where I could hit the spec.  These units are now commercially available from highspeedflash dot com who have the rights to both build and sell my high-speed flash systems.  The image of the water-filled balloon was taken using the “open flash” technique, basically you hold the shutter open in a darkened room, fire the airgun which triggers the flashguns via a microphone.  By moving the microphone away from the sound source you can delay the flash by 1 millisecond for every foot you move the microphone away from the sound source.  So, by trial and error, you can create shots like this one where the pellet has entered the balloon, gone all the way through the water inside, and pushed the skin of the balloon out to just below breaking point.  An image similar to this one went viral on the Internet with over 20,000 hits in a day.  Currently the image has been viewed over 40,000 times 🙂

All Images of the Month are available for you to purchase.  Contact me at to order your “Image of the Month”.

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