Miraz Light At Work Photography

Photographing Water Droplets

One of the resolutions on my list this year was to take water droplet pictures. As they fall. It had made my bucket list last year along with a few other things like smoke photography and while I did manage to take pictures of smoke, I  could not find the time to do try droplet photography. While my passion definitely is taking portrait pictures, every once in a while I like to take pictures of non-living things. With my kiddo away to school one morning, I decided to give it a shot. Here are a few of the shots I managed to capture.

Let me first off admit, I spent over two hours total in this endeavor. Let me also admit, I read the WRONG tutorial before attempting it so what should've been a half hour effort, took 4 times as much. All you need for this tutorial is a long lens. While other tutorials may tell you you need an off camera flash, it really isn't required. I used my offcamera flash only because I have one. So here's what you really and actually need -

  • A Long lens ( I have a 55 to 200 mm)
  • A dish to catch your dropping water drops
  • A sheet of colored paper / cloth to lay under the dish if your dish is see through.
  • Something (anything !) that will lie across the length of your dish. (Note: It may get a little wet). I used a yard stick since I didn't have a pencil that was long enough
  • A tripod (this is a *MUST HAVE *)
  • A source for water to fall from. I used Ms Munchkin's baby dropper. Who knew it would come in handy??
  • A remote trigger. While this is not a must have, it will take you a little longer if you don't really have one and you have to rely on the self timer. The reason you don't want to use your finger for the shutter, is, even if there's a slight camera shake (and there will be) the picture will be blurred.
Here's a pullback shot of my setup that speaks for itself in how to do it.

I took this picture, as you can tell in my powder room since I figured, it would get wet. And was I right ! Reminder to self - next time lay a plastic sheet on the floor because those drops splash and splash a lot !
I'm not sure if you are able to tell the distance between my tripod and the dish from looking at this picture, but it was atleast 3 feet. The first thing you do, is fill the dish to the brim with water. Then you lay the yardstick (or whatever else you have) across the center. Now with your camera in manual, focus on the yardstick. That will ensure your camera will be focussed on the surface of the water where your drop will fall. For droplet photography, it is extremely important to have a fast shutter speed, and lots of light - irrespective of whether you use the onboard flash gun or an off camera one. Take a couple of test shots to ensure correct exposure. Now, start your trickle of water - bet it a tap or a dropper (like  I did). The higher the water falls from, the larger the splash it will make. You will have to time the water from your source hitting the surface of the water in the dish. It might take a couple of shots to get the timing right but once you do, it'll be easy as pie. Go on try it out. Capturing water crowns is a lot of fun !


Jamie H said...

Found your blog through The Blog Frog. Thought I'd share that I took these water drops with a hand-held point and shoot camera! Though they aren't perfect, I did manage to capture them!

Light said...

Thats great Jamie ! Further proves what I always have believed This quote is not mine but I love using it ever since I read it - It does not take a great camera to take great pictures just like it does not take a great oven to make great cakes

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