High Speed Water Photography: First Try

So the other day I was doing some work on YouTube, and I came across this video of two gentlemen shooting photos with water. Around the middle they started demonstrating about shooting some high speed water shots. So I thought to myself, why not try it out.


My Setup:

I went very technical here.

Backdrop: My Clemson Jersey (You’ll notice orange is a recurring theme.) Single Nikon Hot Shoe flash, hand held. Tripod holding a clamp, to which I tapped the eye dropper. Plastic box filled with water. A clear box is not best for this. If you notice, I taped a soda box to the outside to cut off light from getting through the sides. My Nikon D40 mounted to a second tripod.  I only used plain water.

Hint 1: I started out with the water only partiality filling the box. Turns out this was a mistake. The closer you are to the water the better the effect you’re going to get.

Water Low In The Box, Essentially Looking Down On The Drop

Water Filled To The Top, Giving A Cross View To Provide More 3 Dimensional View

Hint 2: I had a little bit of light in the room, but it still made it hard to see. You want to have a long exposure, but it doesn’t have to be too long. If you need more light, then add a little bit.

Hint 3: You do not want to use too small of a depth of field. If you do, you end up with blurry sections of the shot.

My camera was set at ISO 100 for 3 sec at F14. I used a remote with a two second delay. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to taking a picture, dripping a drop of water, and manually firing a flash.

I spent about an hour fooling around with the setup trying to get different effects. One of the first things I did, was try to point the flash higher or lower against the backdrop. It didn’t really affect the depth of color, but it did effect how much light was on the water.

Second learning, and it took me a a lot of minutes to learn this, but water does not fall as fast as you think it does. I ended up with a lot of pictures of flat water, and just as many with water droplet just before it hit. This just takes a lot of practice and patience.

I had a lot of fun, and learned a bunch about utilizing my flash. I think the next time I try this out I’ll use a colored water to try and get a different effect.

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