A Little Splash (water droplet no. 1)


Kinda’ makes me want a Coke. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Bobby Boucher: “Now that’s what I call high quality H2O.”

– Adam Sandler – The Waterboy

About this image: digital photograph (Canon 300D) lightly modified in Adobe Photoshop


97 thoughts on “A Little Splash (water droplet no. 1)

  1. This brings back memories! I took a strobe photography class many years ago where we took pictures like this. Mine never came out as pretty as this one, though.

        • Well… um… kind of depends on what you’ve got (I think).
          I think the general procedure is to set up a sandwich bag with a tiny hole punched in it to ‘drip’ into a container of water below (focusing on the spot where the drips fall). That part went okay… but it seems most people use an off camera flash to bounce light off a card behind (rather than directly at the water). That was a problem for me, because I don’t have an off camera flash that will ‘talk’ to my camera. This was the result of reflecting (with a mirror) some light at the container, some back lighting (from a window) and trying to diffuse / direct on-camera flash with my hand. Also I can only go up to 1/200th with that flash… wish it was a bit faster. Sorry… that was probably WAY more info than you were wanting!

          • That is exactly what I wanted to hear, the details! I would have never thought of a bag with water. You are awesome for sharing your tips! Keep em coming, I am hooked on your blog!

          • To tell you the truth I had heard (or seen) that somewhere before… so I can’t take too much credit for that particular trick… but anytime! I’m always happy to talk about this stuff (ad nauseum it seems)!

          • Back in Strobe Lab, we just turned out the lights and left the camera shutter open. Of course, we had one piece of equipment you might not have lying around the house: a controller for the flash that used an electric eye (which we positioned fairly high in the drip path to detect when a droplet passed by) and a timer that would let us set a delay. So we could basically just set up the detector and the dripping water (I think we used milk), watch where the drip was when the flash went off, and adjust the timer accordingly.

            These were black-and-white pictures on film. We got the shapes but not all the cool reflections that show up in yours.

          • Interesting! I tried something similar. I don’t have that kind of equipment, of course, but I do have an old flash (it just can’t ‘talk’ to my camera). So I did try the dark room / slow shutter / manual fire trick… (like I’ve done with smoke) but it didn’t seem to work out very well for me here.
            Interesting again! I was also thinking of trying a more ‘opaque’ fluid (I was thinking milk or ‘Sunny D’), too. I thought that way I could set the pan in a huge pool of direct sunlight (so I could use a much faster shutter speed – while cutting back on any areas of pan that might be visible through something as transparent as water). I was keeping a bit quiet about that, until I could test it out a bit.

          • I remember that smoke picture! It was great.

            The sensor/timer thingy made it so much easier. We didn’t even have to sync with a slow shutter speed — with the cameras we had, you could manually open and close the shutter. The only problem was that you had to do this in the dark. šŸ™‚

  2. Oooh, so pretty. And now I’m thirsty. And kinda want to break something and photograph it. Which is possibly a strange direction to go in.

    • This was kind of tricky, B.F… I didn’t really have the correct set-up (an off camera flash that can talk to the camera and can be used to bounce light off a background rather than directly at the water). I tried experimenting, though (using my hand to diffuse / direct the on-camera flash, etc.). Other than that it’s just a matter of setting up a ‘dripping device’, taking a ton of photos and hoping one looks okay. I wish my flash shutter speed was a bit faster (to make this just a bit ‘crisper’), but I do have some other ideas I’d like to try (hopefully they’ll be a bit more cooperative)!
      Thank you so much, Amy!

  3. That’s really nice! I liked your description of how you did it above, too. I really should try some of these things, they look like fun.

    • Thank you so very much, sir!
      I think you would enjoy them! Kind of fun! Well, except for the mess a lot of them seem to make (I probably shouldn’t include a description of how long it takes me to put all the ‘stuff’ away… I wouldn’t want to put you off the project)!

    • Thanks RNP! As far as macro goes I’ve pretty much been using my kit lens. Sometimes with a screw-on diopter (maybe that’s something you could play around with before purchasing a nicer lens… mine was pretty cheep… still fun, though)!

  4. It may surprise you to know that I have never tried this form of photography in all the 40-odd years of waving various cameras about. I love the shades of blue and green color in this and the ‘horizon’ that gives the image depth šŸ™‚

    • I don’t think I would have guessed that, Martin, but this is the first time I’ve tried it, too!
      Thank you so much! A lot of the color came from some colored plastic I had strewn about (and a lot more came from my monkeying around in Photoshop, of course)! I’m very happy to hear you liked the horizontal, too… I kept going back and fourth with that… to crop or not to crop… couldn’t quite make up my mind.

    • The set-up was fairly simple (pin-hole in a water-filled sandwich bag suspended over a pan of water)…
      lighting was probably the biggest challenge… still working out a few bugs with that!
      Thank you very much, Mary!

    • This was kinda a comedy of experimental errors, Mr. B…
      only 1/200th (fastest my on-camera flash would allow – and from everything I’ve seen it’s best to use off-camera – bounced off a card behind rather than directly lighting the water – I tried diffusing / directing it a bit but… yeah).
      Anyway, I’m thinking a more opaque liquid would work a bit better for me… in a nice pool of bright, direct sunlight (so I can get a bit more d.o.f and speed at the same time (without worrying about seeing through the liquid as much)…

  5. This example of your creative endeavours is just drop in the bucket of what bubbles up from your imagination & skills. Well done ! šŸ™‚

    • Thank you so very much!
      Awesome! I bet you’d come up with some wonderful results! It’s been a bit of a challenge, really. I’m not really using the recommended set-up, and it seems like I might have to re-think my strategy a bit…

  6. this little splash is a big hit. love how crisp the image is, and the light reflected on the water. and that dreamy background, looking like the ocean which you have magically created from duct tape or a baking sheet or a bowl of jello or something. but you always make it look so believable. really cool!
    i could imagine this one hanging on a wall, too. thanks for sharing!

    • I’m so happy you liked this, P&K, thank you!
      Yeah… control over sharpness had been on of my biggest frustration with these droplet experiments so far. I’m one who doesn’t mind some shallow depth-of-filed or implied motion blur, but I like to be able to control where that falls. Hmm… I think I’m going to have to rethink my set-up a bit.

  7. A delirious pond of diamond delights! I know from your comments that these are water drops from a sandwich bag etc but I am going with the day dreaming fantasy of the magic you create!

    • Hahaha… yeah, kind of… yeah. But the baggies really do help keep everything dripping in a fairly consistent spot… and it helps to have an extra hand, too! Thank you for your incredibly kind thoughts, Ms. K!

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