Photographing Water Drops

March 26, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

For a long time I've seen people produce some really nice images of water drops. I thought it was about time I gave this a try myself. My first few attempts didn't turn out so well. It wasn't until I realized that the shot needs to be backlight, that things started to go my way. Here's what I wound up doing to set up the shot:

  1. Filled a bread pan full of water and placed on my kitchen table
  2. Placed a cardboard box behind the bread pan
  3. Taped a white sheet of paper on the box, facing the bread pan
  4. Put a gel on my Nikon speedlight to color the light
  5. Placed the speedlight on the left side of the bread pan and aimed it at the white paper to bounce the light back into my scene.
  6. Setup two lightstands and the cross-bar I use for seamless paper rolls. From this I hung a ziplock bag half full of water.
  7. Positioned the bag directly over the bread pan and poked a tiny hole in it. The water dripped out at a rate of approximately 1 drop every 2 or 3 seconds.

 

Once I had that all set up, I got out my D700 and mounted a Sigma 180mm macro lens on it. I also used a 1.4x teleconverter. Your camera settings will vary based upon your particular environment, but I used the following:

  • Aperture: f/32
  • Shutter speed: 1/250 sec
  • Flash: 1/4 power (I think . . . can't quite remember)

 

After I started shooting, it only took maybe 20 or 30 shots before I had the timing nailed down. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Next time I think I'll replace the white paper with a piece of paper that has big splotches of 3 or 4 colors. I think that might produce an interesting effect. Anyway, it doesn't hurt to experiment. I hope this gives you some ideas. Have fun and keep on shootin'. Here are a few examples from that shoot:

Blue Gel
Blue Gel
Red Gel
Red Gel
Blue Gel
Blue Gel
Blue Gel - Altered in Photoshop
Blue Gel, but the color was altered in Photoshop

 


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