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Water Droplet Fun

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by zpierce, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    It was an dreary Sunday so I decided to try my hand at water droplet photography. I raided my wife's craft supplies and flooded the kitchen ;)  I learned a lot and got a few keepers!

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zachpierce/6787766932/" title="P1200584.jpg by zach.pierce, on Flickr"> View attachment 192976 "640" height="480" alt="P1200584.jpg"></a>

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    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/zachpierce/6933879109/" title="P1200486.jpg by zach.pierce, on Flickr">
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    • Like Like x 13
  2. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Very cool.
  3. Daozard

    Daozard Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 4, 2011
    Nice... I should try it myself too...
  4. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    I still haven't attempted doing one, even though the are so cool. Great shots

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 App
  5. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    Wow! Any tips on your set-up? I tried doing this a week or so ago but couldn't get the timing down.
  6. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    Droplets are indeed fun...here two from last month...sorry, no water colors!

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  7. phrenic

    phrenic Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 13, 2010
    I'd love to see a rough guide!
  8. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Happy to share, I culled everything from numerous web sites anyways :) 

    I used a cake pan to catch the drips. I used a piece of black fabric submerged because the pan was an ugly steel color. I'm going to paint a pan for next time or buy a black paint tray. I set the pan on a table and set a tripod up behind the pan (without extending the legs much). For the drips I hung a ziploc bag from one of the adjustment arms on the tripod using a clamp. To make the drips I just used a pin to poke a hole in the corner of the ziploc bag. I experimented with various pieces of paper for the back drop behind the pan. The idea is to bounce the flash off the paper so the color will be reflected. I found dark colors didn't work too well, so I stuck with light blue or white. The colors in my pics were either from post or the blue came from setting white balance to tungsten. The camera was setup on another tripod next to the table. Most of the guides I read suggested off camera flash. I have an FL-36, but no cable for off camera, so I improvised by aiming it at a 45 degree angle to the left and standing a mirror there to bounce it to the paper backdrop. This worked fine, but it would be a lot easier to take it off camera. For the camera, I used my GH2 + PL45. I also hung a piece of black fabric over the drip tripod to shade the whole contraption to make it pretty dark because you want the majority of the light coming from the flash.

    The trick to freezing the action is not shutter speed, but flash speed. The trick is to balance flash power, aperture, and ISO to get the desired effect. The goal is to use the lowest power possible on the flash. The lower the power on the flash, the faster the burst, and the shorter the exposure. It took a lot of playing around to get the right DOF (since it's close to macro) and keeping the noise down and flash speed up. Where I ended up with my better shots was around f3.5-4.0, ISO 320, then playing with the flash power to get proper exposure without blowing highlights. Generally that was pretty low. As for setting this up, everything was manual. I set the shutter to 1/160 (the max sync speed for the flash). As for getting the shots, it was just a ton of trial and error. I shot nearly 500 shots. About 1 in 10 captured something interesting. There was no timing it, just start it up and start shooting. It's too fast to try to time as a human. However, once I got it dialed in, it wasn't too hard to get cool shots.

    There's a lot of great guides out there on the web. Some people get crazy into this, using hundreds of dollars worth of automated drip machines to control size, rate, create drop collisions, time the shots, etc. My shots are nothing special compared to what's out there, but it was a lot of fun and I learned a lot of different things through the exercise, especially about my flash.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. dave

    dave Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 30, 2012
    very cool shots :2thumbs: if you use photoshop you can use those shots to make a custom water drop brush set and do some very interesting affects :big grin:
  10. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Wow zpierce those are incredible shots!

    I tried my hand at doing water drop/splash shots recently as well. I guess I should have looked up techniques online first, mine didn't look as nice as yours. lol.

    Panny Lumix G2 with Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm/1.7

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6865283779/" title="P1200255 by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr">
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    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6865282249/" title="P1200253 by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr">
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    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/vftsai/6865280329/" title="P1200203 by V-F-Tsai, on Flickr">
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  11. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Cool stuff, man. Thanks for sharing the background info on how you captured these.
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