I have always wanted to play around with water drop photography. So this week I’m trying something new.
To begin I made a reflector out of white paper and a scrap piece of plywood. Then using one of my trusty little “stick-in-a-pot” as a support I clamped some fishing line to hold the reflector at a slopping angle towards my subject.
I actually tried a couple of different ideas to drop water. The first one was the coolest with a soda bottle and tube. It looked more like an IV than anything else. However, I ran across this idea and it was less trouble and seemed to work better. Again, I started with another “stick-in-a-pot” and clamped a brace to hold my water source. The source is a gallon zip-lock bag containing water. I just made a small hole in the corner of the bag with a needle. This part is just trial and error. Start small and continue until you get the drops coming at an acceptable rate.
To catch the water I used a large pan. This actually is an old oil changing pan that I had for cleaning small parts, filled with water. For my lights I used a key light that I had made (this will be an upcoming post) and placed it to right. Then for my main light source I used an off camera flash controlled by a wireless flash trigger. The flash is pointed towards the reflector and bounces back towards the drops making a very nice light.
I set up my camera with a 70-300 macro lens on a tripod with a remote. I shot these images in manual using ISO 100, speed 125 at F8. Since it would be impossible to focus automatically on the drops, I pre-focused automatically on a bolt, and then afterwards switched the lens to manual focus. The drops will continue falling in the same place, so as long as nothing moves the subject will remain in focus.
Color can be brought into the shot several different ways. One series I used colored file folders and held them between the flash and the reflector. One could also use color gels. These particular images, I changed the color in processing.
As you can see you can try this out for next to nothing in cost, by re-purposing items that you may already have lying around in the garage. On the other hand I found some very serious water drop photographers on You Tube who had “time machines” that dropped the water drops at certain rates so that they would collide together at a precise time. They were able to make some amazing images. While those toys are certainly nice, I have a few lenses that I would rather purchase first.