We are at the end of our first online macro classes, and we have had a blast. The participant’s images have been stunning, and everyone has learned a lot of new macro technique. I have one more macro technique to share on my blog. Droplet splash photography is just that; capturing a drop of liquid as it hits a small pool of water. Most of these techniques involve using a flash to freeze the droplet, combined with a lot of attempts to get one decent image. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do this without a flash? Well, you can, but it does require a few items. If you have a studio-in-a-box like our macro class does, try using an eye dropper or syringe and simply dropping water through the top slot into a wine glass of water. With the LED lights on high, and your ISO up to 1600 or higher, you can shoot at 1/000 and faster and get a good shot. Experiment with milk and other liquids in your studio-in-a-box.
I was getting frustrated because every time I squeezed a droplet out it landed in a different place in my cup of water. So I decided to use some more gear. First, I mounted a cross bar on two lightstands and gaffer taped an eye dropper to the middle to keep the position fixed. Next, I put down a black background on a table below the dropper…distance was about three feet from eye dropper to water. Then I filled a casserole dish with about a 1/4 inch of water, and added green food dye. Finally, I positioned one of our video lights behind the dish and taped some colored gels to the light. This gelled light would add great color to the water, and the ripples would add interesting graphic lines and shapes.
I did a couple of test water drops and manually focused my lens to this exact spot. I used F8 at 1/1000 at ISO 3200 using my Nikon D5. The D5 allowed me to shoot at 12 frames per second. My technique was simple. As soon as a droplet fell towards the casserole dish I just pressed and held the shutter down ripping off 20 frames for each drop. Sometimes I tried to send multiple droplets one after the other to create different effects. I also switched to red food dye and different gel colors to mix things up. It takes some practice, but once you get sharp focus, you will be hooked!