long time, no blog

Three seasons, a new year and many adventures later, I’m ready for my next post.

It may have been a long time, but that’s not to say I haven’t been busy with my camera. In fact, I don’t think I’ve experimented quite so much! Despite my A-levels taking up so much time, studying art has inspired me to keep trying new techniques, practicing methods and exploring new ones, if not becoming obsessed with photographing water. So here goes, a brief update…

 

Autumn – crisp leaves, vivid skies.

I found myself designing and publishing my Sixth Form magazine in a fantastically creative team. This was a totally new experience for me and despite the hectic deadlines and stressful organisation I loved every second of it. There really is nothing like seeing your hard work coming hot off the press, and would love to be a part of it again. Autumn brought an abundance of stunning natural beauty, the natural softbox of the reddening skies highlighting beautifully the details of the landscape. There really is nothing like it, and the pattern of the evening clouds never fail to mesmerise me.

 

Winter – bitter chill, festive warmth.

If not the most depressing month, Winter does offer the chance to drape the house liberally in light, colour and scent. This was the perfect setting for some beautiful bokehlicious photos of decoration. It also enticed me towards the macro side of those frosted mornings. Yet, as Spring approaches, with frost turning to dew, we are relieved from the deep gloom of the endless darkness and step out to a spot of sunshine.

 

Spring – fresh start, new life.

The greenery blooms, longer days and a funny bright light appears in the sky. The white of the snowdrops is replaced by the pop of yellow offered by the daffodils, and soon after everything comes alive. Lighter, longer, warmer: I spend endless hours cycling and taking photos when the evenings begin stretch out.

 

Which brings my story up to date, with just enough time to let you know what my latest project has been.

 

I started with a deep, round glass container of water and an assortment of coloured inks. I then set up with a softbox backdrop and softboxes either side of the water: with my camera on a tripod I was ready.

I dropped the inks in the water and photographed the movement of the colours. It was very interesting to see the way the liquids moved and spread out in the water, and I continued to add different colours at different times for varied effects. It was hard because after each shoot the water would turn murky and opaque, so I had to set up fresh water each time. However, after a while I was starting to get some interesting shots with fantastic pattern.

 

I love experimenting with new methods and yes, I will keep more up to date next time…

 

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.