Photographer Fabian Oefner creates amazing sculptures of pigment colored salt by placing it on a thin plastic foil stretched on a speaker. He calls them Dancing Colors.
The shutter is opened for a few seconds in a darkened room, and once the speaker starts vibrating the pigmented salt rises to the air, a microphone picks up the noise and triggers the flashes. This is a pretty typical setup for high speed photography. Low power is used for capturing sharp images, 4 strobes are used as key and another 2 as fill.
Here is how Fabien describes the process:
the salt is placed on a thin foil of plastic, which is wrapped on top of a speaker. as soon as the speaker receives a sound, the plastic foil starts to vibrate, forming these strange figures.
in order to capture the specific moment, where the pigments are lifted into the air, i attached a microphone to the speaker, which is again connected to the flash system. as soon as the speaker emits a sound, the microphone picks it up and sends a signal to the flashes to trigger them. since i took the images in a completely darkened room, i can just leave the shutter open for a few seconds, only the event illuminated by the triggered flashes is captured.
the shooting is very time-consuming since one has to clean the whole setup after every shot. it`s also a very messy business, everybody, who has ever worked with color pigments knows what i mean :-)
And if you are interested in the lighting porn, this is what the setup looks like:
you can see the speaker, placed on the table with the pigments to the left. flashes are placed to the left (main light) and the right ( fill light). The device, that you see in the right corner, is the trigger circuit,
which sends the signal of the mic to the flashes.