I was interested in high speed photography. My gear is limited – I use a DSLR and a custom trigger with a very short xenon flash to take pictures of things like glowing balloons. (I open the shutter in total darkness before popping the balloon and using the flash to freeze the motion.)
From what I've read, the edges of a jumping balloon move faster than the speed of sound. Despite my best efforts, the edges of my bright balloons are still blurry. According to my research, it seems that the fastest discharge I can get from a xenon flash is about 1/40 000 seconds. It seems like you need exposures inferior to a microsecond to get crisp images of the supersonic movement.
I sometimes put cornstarch in the balloons and get fascinating patterns in cornstarch:
I really need a flash gap to get sharp pictures. The gap flashes create light discharges as fast as 1/2 microsecond. (1 / 2,000,000 of a second.)
However, what I really want is to understand how these patterns form in cornstarch when the balloon appears. To do this, I need a high-speed video camera that takes images with shutter speeds lower than the microsecond, and very quickly. Are there high-speed commercial cameras that can do this and can be rented by mere mortals? And how could I pump enough light onto my subject to expose these extremely short shutter-speed images?
I know that Mr. Edgerton used moving film and rotating mirrors to create images of a second micropile of explosives, but these cameras weighed hundreds of pounds and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars or even more.