Making A Splash

At it’s core, photography is about capturing a moment in time and preserving it forever. That moment may or may not be in terms that our own eyes are able to perceive.

When creating light-trail imagery, the camera shutter is left open for seconds or even minutes while light sources dance in front of the lens creating an overall picture which is quite different from what we saw with our own eyes and can be quite striking. Similarly, a camera is able to divide time so finely and precisely as to freeze action which occurs in the blink of an eye.


One great example of this fast shutter technique is photographing water droplets splashing. An intricate and beautiful dance is performed as waves interact with one another and surface tension is overcome leading to small explosions of liquid on a tiny scale.


Having put some thought and research into how best to create pictures using this technique, I set up a glass dish with water filled to the brim and filled a sports bottle which had an adjustable nozzle allowing me to reduce the rate of flow to only a few drips.


I set up my camera on a tripod and carefully positioned the frame and the focus. To create the high levels of contrast needed to highlight the shapes of the water, I positioned a flash gun behind the bowl with a large diffuser in between to help spread the light and create a more uniform backing which would reduce distractions.


After experimenting with different ways of dropping the water in and adding some colours to the back-light, I decided to colour the water droplets falling down to bring extra dimensions to the images.


I have to say I am extremely happy with the results to say it was my first serious attempt at this particular type of photograph. I am already having ideas of where else I can take this technique and what lessons I can learn and apply elsewhere.




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