High speed photography has a tendency to be messy (broken glass, water and other flying debris) and potentially dangerous (guns, and that flying debris again). However it’s the need for darkness which can prove to be the biggest problem. Having built a high-speed laser trigger, I needed a way of actually using it to take some photos. This presented me with a puzzle, as I work in an open plan office and have small children at home. Neither lend themselves to blacked-out rooms, flying shards of glass and small arms. The solution I came up with manages to solve all of these problems and more, and is I think worth trying even by those who are lucky enough to have access to real studios.
My inspiration was the film changing bag, which is simply a light-proof bag with elasticated holes for arms. This is great for times when you need complete darkness but don’t have a darkroom, such as when you’re loading a film into a developing tank. Clearly a bag would be no use here, but perhaps a box would do. I looked at the large, black recycling boxes that we have around here and thought they may be on the right track. A quick search on Amazon for the largest black plastic box I could find turned up this 84 litre (22 gallon) beauty, complete with lid for £21 ($37). It sits comfortably on my desk, and is easily stored underneath it.