Looking to master Liquid Splash Photography? we highly recommend: Mastering Splash Masterclass video / eBook by Alex Koloskov. Highly detailed textual info and 4-hour step by step video. Intended for commercial, advertising and fine art photographers as well as advanced amateurs. Click here for more info.
Photographs of a water drops always captivate viewers. These images possess the magic which is not seen by the naked eye. Water is the most familiar substance in our environment, but the drop falls so fast that we only notice the ripples on the surface. The camera is wonderful device at freezing such a quick motion that it allows us to capture the movement of a drop at any moment in time.
Recently, we demonstrated how to photograph liquid pour and splash using a clamp lamp as a light source. We received some challenging emails and comments across the forums which stated that shooting a water drop would be not possible with continuous clamp light. So we took the challenge. Well it was not easy, and it took six clamp lamps with a 120w halogen spot light bulbs to make it happened. So after some days of experimenting, we came out with this technique… (Actually Robert did, I was mostly critiquing…)
As you already know, the shutter speed controls the time of the exposure. From experimenting we found that 1/1000 sec is the minimal speed required to freeze the motion.
When you photograph a drop of water, the light is reflective, as oppose to directly back-lit (as we did in our water pour tutorial). in the article on how to photograph reflective objects we explained the concept behind the angle of reflection. So in this can case, we are not lighting the water itself, but what is reflected in the water (diffusion paper + gels).
Since reflective light loses a lot of intensity, more light is required to get the desired exposure while keeping the shutter speed at 1/1000 second or above.
To get the shot in focus, observe carefully where the drop is falling and temporally hold some object in that same spot to focus your camera. Then set the camera to manual focus.
The longer the distance between the dropper and the surface of the water, the higher the bounce of the drop. Experiment with distance. Photographing the water splash that is created by a drop will require a lot of takes. The results could be very rewarding and unexpected.
Experiment with different colored water (using food coloring) and use different color gels for vibrant effect.
Challenge: Create an image of a “water drop splash” post your results here using “share your shot” feature in comments. If you have shot water drop previously, using a different technique, feel free to post it, and please share the technique that you used with us.
Note: if you are in Atlanta, Georgia area, our friend Alex Koloskov is teaching a Master Class on Liquid Splash photography (which is designed toward advanced photographers). If this is of your interest: The next class is being held on June 11, 2011 check it out.