High-speed photos turn violent gun explosions into delicate stills

Herra Kuulapaa loves to take high-speed photos of firing guns, moved by a desire to see the unseen. His precise technique turns violent explosions into delicate spirals of flames and smoke. Here are a few examples.

I've always been a scientific person fascinated by unseen phenomena especially too fast or slow. When we started doing this the main purpose was just to take some pictures for ourselves but we soon found out that the sports shooting community was hungry for our material and next logical step was to make it public. Although this whole project has been impersonated to me, there is a solid team effort behind each image.

High-speed photos turn violent gun explosions into delicate stills

Barrel of my FN .22lr pistol used to split cards.

I've always been interested in 3D photography too and it solves the main issue with 2D ballistics photography: It's not easy to see the three dimensional structure of gas cloud and blast formation. But when we change from 2D to 3D it all gets much more clear and the form including also internal structures of the blast can be seen easily. Problem is that side by side pictures require cross eye viewing technique and it can be slightly difficult to some people. I encourage readers try to view also 3D images. It's really worth your while.

High-speed photos turn violent gun explosions into delicate stills

AR-15 rifle with compensated barrel shooting a bullet ~1.000 m/s - 3.300 feet/s.

High-speed photos turn violent gun explosions into delicate stills

Niklas Laurin, employee of shooting range West Shooters Ry Helsinki and a short Magnum .44 revolver.

What started as a recreational project has now evolved to another level. We have projects running with manufacturers all the time but also try to publish material as much as we can. Unfortunately time is a limiting factor in resource point of view because making this kind of material is really time consuming and requires surprisingly vast amount of planning and setting up the gear before actual photography can start. Nevertheless more material is coming to be published with regular intervals. I hope you enjoy our work.

High-speed photos turn violent gun explosions into delicate stills

9mm Pistol makes less flame but still there is a good blast coming out of the barrel.

High-speed photos turn violent gun explosions into delicate stills

.22lr bullet coming out of silencer. Note that there is no blast like in other pictures.

High-speed photos turn violent gun explosions into delicate stills

This is what happens when B-vitamin tablet meets air gun pellet traveling 180 m/s.

High-speed photos turn violent gun explosions into delicate stills

This is the most bad ass revolver: Smith & Wesson .500 S&W Magnum. It makes .44 Magnum look weak and pale. Of course I must admit that .44 Magnum revolvers are generally very powerful and were once on top of the food chain but today .500S&W Magnum just happens to be much more.

High-speed photos turn violent gun explosions into delicate stills

Queen of Hearts show in two with .22lr pistol.

Herra Kuulapaa is a Finnish photographer and experimentalist. His interests lie in imaging usually hidden things such as high speed ballistic events and dim objects of the sky.


This is part of a series in which we are featuring futuristic, alien-looking or just plain awesome images of landscapes, cityscapes, and objects. If you are a photographer with such work, please drop me a line here.


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