German photographer Thomas Herbrich’s gorgeous smoke photographs aren’t just works of art, they’re testaments to his extraordinary dedication to his art. It took Herbrich 3 months and 100,000 photos until he had just 20 that he considered worth showing to the world.

When Herbrich set out to create these photos, he underestimated how quickly smoke moves; “The rising of cigarette-smoke is actually so quick that conventional flash equipment is too slow, as is the photographer,” Herbrich explained to Petapixel. “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.

To achieve the shots, Herbrich had to use camera flash speeds of 1/10000 or faster, capturing thousands of images to get the few he wanted.

More info: (h/t: colossal, petapixel)