finally adding the more serious stuff
Wow, thanks you for the DD suggestion and all the nice comments! Highly appreciated!
So, now for the questions of how it was accomplished:
incense cone, camera on tripod ~50cm from the incense cone, black backdrop ~1m behind the incense cone and most importantly: flash from the side, triggered with a wireless remote. everything else can be seen in the EXIF data.
Hope that helps.. and as soon as you have some used old flash and a remote trigger, the rest is pretty simple. :>