These amazing photographs were taken by German photographer Thomas Herbrich, they are the results of a painstaking process which took Herbrich three months to complete. It could be called Herbrich’s study in smoke.
It’s also a study in a phenomenon called Pareidolia.
Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant. Common examples include seeing images of animals or faces in clouds, the man in the moon or the Moon rabbit, and hearing hidden messages on records when played in reverse.
Out of the 100,000 photographs that Herbrich took he chose just 20 to display. You can see the rest of them here on his website.
I was very surprised by how extremely quickly smoke move. It’s easier to photograph a racing car!
The rising of cigarette-smoke is actually so quick that conventional flash equipment is too slow, as is the photographer – only a few milliseconds pass between recognition of the subject and the taking of the shot, a length of time in which the smoke has already changed again.
I therefore used a quick flash with a flash duration of 1/10000 sec. or faster – and took more than 100,000 digital photos in three months (which killed one camera). The “poor” photos were immediately separated out on the laptop and rejected. Only 20 or so of the photos actually made the shortlist.