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03-13-2011, 01:28 PM   #1
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Water (drop) photography - Tips and/or tricks?

I absolutely love water drop photography, and find it fascinating to look at. I have attempted it once legitimately and a couple other times just to try something real quick to be used when I have more time. Considering the vast amount of photographers on here, some must have information that can be beneficial for others to try this difficult yet rewarding type of photography.

SO, if you have any images and comments you would like to contribute with please feel free. If you have questions, well this is the perfect place

I'll start it off:
First and foremost, I have found a dedicated macro lens to be the best solution between magnification and working distance. Secondly, colored water is NOT needed to get those crazy colorful images you see online. Third, A long rectangle shaped container is best from what I've tried. Fourth, getting a drop system going is definitely the hardest part. Fifth, a flash IS necessary. The more the merrier. Sixth, patience and luck are a MUST!

Here's a couple images:












and finally a quick test I did yesterday to achieve two colors with clear water



03-13-2011, 02:01 PM   #2
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The "tranquility?" shot is definitely a WOW shot - don't usually see that, and I love the color.

They're all great photos though.
03-13-2011, 02:58 PM   #3
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Were they all shot with your Sigma 105 Macro? I can't wait to get my Tamron 70-200mm Macro for playing around with water drops!
03-13-2011, 03:01 PM   #4
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I love the color of the first one and as you call it " simplicity ".

I have only given it a go twice myself. Heres is a few shots I did a while back and it gives a little explanation of the set up. I was actually going to try it again today because of the poor weather outside but got sidetracked by company.

I agree, for me getting a steady drop system going was the hardest. I set the focus point using a pencil once I locate the impact point and for color I bounce a flash off colored poster paper. Of course in PP you can always play around with color also.
Shooting straight on you get better in focus results rather than at an angle where you have to deal more with DOF.
I think the rest of the week is supposed to be real wet here so I plan on getting to it again soon. If I can figure anything else new I will let you know. I will of couse keep an eye on this thread also for any tips myself.


Last edited by OrenMc; 03-13-2011 at 03:52 PM.
03-13-2011, 08:08 PM   #5
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I've not done drop photography in a few years (must update my Avatar shot), but it's fun. Tips from my experience:

nb: Lay the whole setup on a towel and have plenty more towels on-hand, should catastrophe strike.

Getting the drop stream is relatively easy, requiring a freezer bag with just a 1/2 cup or so of water, a couple of clothes pegs to suspend it, and a pin to make a hole in the bottom. Get it wrong and you can swap bags. Get it right and you can add water.

A dark colored tray will provide better reflections.

Camera on a tripod with remote release.

A longer focal length lens will give you more working distance, keeping the face of the lens dry. Extension tubes can help to get the magnification.

If you don't have the right color gels for your flash, you can bounce it off a suitable color. Lighting is from the rear or side. Cover the flash in a zip-lock or freezer bag.

Because the lighting is provided by the flash, don't get too hung up on shutter speed, just shoot manual, and adjust the exposure using aperture.
03-13-2011, 09:36 PM   #6
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thanks openyourap, now all I need is a macro lens.. LBA is itchin!
03-13-2011, 10:10 PM   #7
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These are some I took ago (January 2008)

K100D with an old Sigma 3.5/28-80 that came as the kit lens on my MZ-50 many moons ago.

On-board flash, set camera to Macro and away we went.







.... and there's some more here - Macro - Water Droplets - Warped Photography - Perth's Premier Fetish Photographer | SmugMug

I tried various manual settings and adding some +/- compensation, as well as off camera flash, but for once the auto settings and on-board flash worked a treat and I mostly stuck with that.

Only thing manual was focus - I put the tip of a pencil where the water drops were falling, focused on that then left it there. Camera was mounted on a tripod and with roughly 5 seconds between each drop I just counted down and hit the shutter every 5th count.

For the colour I used a blue glass bowl and there's a silver sun-shade reflector thingy from the car in the background to add the silver highlights.

The set-up itself was simple and easy and I had good, usable shots within a few minutes. I used an old pine towel rack with a bowel held in the upper part, a piece of rag acting like a wick was dangled from that to provide the drips. The blue bowl was beneath that and the silver sun-screen attached to the back of the towel rack using clothes pegs. By varying the shutter release to be right on the count, just before, or just after, got the varying shapes and a range of patterns.


Last edited by Warped; 03-13-2011 at 10:15 PM.
03-13-2011, 10:18 PM   #8
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Love the PP'd lens flare (hope thats PP'd). These shots are painful, I want to try water drop shots so bad, but without a macro lens its quite a pain and the loss of IQ on that kind of crop would be ridiculous!
03-14-2011, 12:05 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chex Quote
Love the PP'd lens flare (hope thats PP'd). These shots are painful, I want to try water drop shots so bad, but without a macro lens its quite a pain and the loss of IQ on that kind of crop would be ridiculous!
If you're referring to the last image out of the ones I posted ..... no, it's not pp'd lens flare.
It's a catchlight/reflection from the on-board flash due to the camera/flash being pretty much horizontal and not far off being in line with the surface of the water.
03-14-2011, 11:17 PM   #10
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Well I just tried my first crack at water drop photo's and this is the result, I had to rig up my own fish-eye type lens to at least get close to macro range... I used my 43mm Ltd with a Raynox 2x TC inverted in front. It definitly looses some IQ but at least I can get the shots!
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Last edited by Chex; 04-02-2011 at 02:22 PM.
05-17-2011, 09:57 AM   #11
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As yet unfinished, but much info at bunny007.com/droplets.

Last edited by Parallax; 05-17-2011 at 10:07 AM.
05-17-2011, 10:09 AM   #12
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Apologies - link didn't come out right. Should be ************************

Last edited by Parallax; 05-17-2011 at 10:16 AM.
05-17-2011, 10:17 AM   #13
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Yes the link did come out, but I edited it. Links to personal sites are not allowed in the body of a post; only in your signature line. Check your PMs.
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