High speed photography uses flash or strobe lights to capture fast moving objects (because in a darkened room a such lights effectively give much shorter exposures than the camera shutter).
I recently got interested in the technique and used some of the Christmas vacation to experiment.
The easiest way is to use something like Triggertrap (link) to activate a flash when it detects a sound.
I used Triggertrap in my first experiments.
To make this work, I needed to make a cable for my flash, but this is straightforward enough.
This method works ok, but is not particularly satisfactory for experimenting at home, where there tends to be competing noises that might activate the sensors and because it is not straight forward to activate the camera shutter, the device and then making whatever happen — at least not without a spare set of hands.
So, after some web searching, I decided to make a device that would trigger the flash when a light beam is broken (to manage the sound issues) and that would activate the camera for me.
After a day and a bit of tinkering, using mostly bits and pieces from previous experiments (and a delivery from RS), I ended up with this mess.
It is basically an Arduino with photo sensor (for the laser trigger) and optocouplers to trigger the camera and flash (see here). The contraption allows me to press a button which then: turns off some lights, opens the camera shutter, waits for the laser beam (from a laser pointer used in lectures) to be cut then activate the flash, close the shutter and turn on the lights. The setup in my study looks like this:
The results are ok (and would be better with an improved background and better chosen base). Given its all done in my carpeted study, no red wine, coloured fruit, breaking eggs, etc.