getting experimental

Oh how time flies when you start school again: A level life has really kicked off, and as its almost two months since my last post I thought I’d better keep you up to date… the company’s brochure has been published with my pictures in, the ‘mega storm’ has hit Oxford and my blog reached 1000 views! So with the rain hammering outside, I thought I’d better keep myself busy.

I remember a couple of years ago seeing an article in a magazine about a water droplet photographer who captured the split second beauty of a bead of water in an instantaneous splash. I have no idea how he managed to capture such incredible shapes, but I thought I’d give it a go myself.

First, I knew a fast shutter speed was essential, but this meant I needed more light, my fastest aperture and needed to pump up the ISO. So I did a couple of practise shots. These turned out worse than I could have imagined; the image was dark, grainy. I didn’t even factor in the timing of the splash or even how I would drop the water. I had to go back to the drawing board.

So after some more practice, more lights and more water on my bedroom floor, I managed to get a well exposed framing for my image. I was using a shallow glass dish filled with water and a white paper backdrop with my camera on a tripod. I then came across an eye dropper somewhere in my house, which was perfect to use for the droplet to fall on the water. Only my next issue was capturing the splash at both the right time and in focus! I manually focussed the lens to a point on the water where I placed a pencil and hoped to drop the water on this spot. There were so many things to factor in, but after about 300 frames I was starting to get some rather interesting and surprising results.

My shots, well about 1 in 50, were looking rather good! This called for some experimentation…  without an external flash unit I had to improvise with my phone torch, bike lights and various lamps to illuminate the water. Then I got creative: off cuts of coloured cellophane covered the light sources. I also tried dropping various liquids in the dish such as oil, wine, milk and food colouring and I played around with releasing multiple drops on the water and trying to make them collide. I even blew bubbles on the surface and dropped the water on the bubble.

By the end of this, I had thousands of photos to sort through, most of them out of focus or with no splash at all. But there were some really fantastic shots. I love being inspired and trying new techniques, so it just goes to show- even without the most high tech or expensive kit, you can still achieve stunning photographs.


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