I am interested in recording unusual, improbable, ephemeral , or otherwise unseen realphenomena in gorgeous detail.
Under the constraints I impose on myself, nothing is simulated, edited, collaged: everything must be real. And so I build apparatus to shape electric and magnetic fields, fluid jets, smoke rings, soap films, and lightning arcs to orchestrate the forces and phenomena I am interested in.
The first photo I ever made using a synchronized high voltage spark applied to a falling water drop. Red light in background, and red artifacts surrounding droplet in foreground, are due to a red laser beam being used to detect when the droplet is in the desired position. The laser detector circuit triggered a high voltage thyristor which dumped a 700V storage capacitor into the high voltage coil of the stun gun. This relatively low energy apparatus was eventually included as an optical trigger for a much (much) more powerful, 240kV, 8 joule, marx generator which I built from scratch.
To make these photographs I studied high voltage physics and built a personal lightning machine. It produces incredibly brilliant lightning at potentials of up to a quarter-million volts. I have also built a triggered spark gap and optical slave trigger circuit so this lightning machine can be commanded to issue it’s burst at a precise moment.
Another alternative photographic technique which, to my knowledge, is of my own invention, is a method of recording transient and often complex flow patterns in fluid media: