Alan Sailer says he was an obscure photographer, working in his garage, shooting stuff with a pellet gun and capturing the results with a home-made microsecond flash. All it took was one picture to become a sudden hit on the social networks.
"My boss came by one day and told me my site was getting a huge number of views," he wrote on his Flickr page. "Emails from magazines, newspapers and even Good Morning America started clogging my FlickrMail box. It was very stressful."
Above, a lime and a lightbulb annihilate one another at great speed.
A gelatin-filled Christmas ornament disintegrates on contact with an old keyboard. Alan shoots his amazing photos using a hand-made, high-speed flash, which he constructed after studying articles at Scientific American and elsewhere: "If you do decide to try and build a flash from this information, please be careful. The main storage capacitor is pure death."
A ball of Play-Doh impacts a block of clay at 270 feet per second. Alan uses a Nikon D90 for most of his shots; the flash unit cost him about $300 to build.
Alan describes this chaotic scene: "A glass and plastic-flower piece of junk gets sent to the dustbin by a fast-moving tea candle."
To create this chessboard scene, Alan replaced a piece's head with a less solid material to get a better effect. Though he wanted to use a configuration from a classic master game, they proved visually uninteresting. "It is probably an arrangement that is impossible by real world chess rules," he adds. "Deal with it."