High Speed Water Photography - 5 tips

Discussion in 'Articles of Interest' started by terri, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2003
    Messages:
    25,317
    Likes Received:
    2,082
    Location:
    In the mental ward of this forum
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    High Speed Water Photography


    submitted by: Josh Jones (TPF member skiboarder72)


    High speed water photography is one of the most difficult types of photography. Nailing the timing, focus, and lighting within a time frame that your eye cannot process can be very difficult. The results are simply amazing. Since your eye cannot freeze time, things such as water, explosions, and chemical reactions become instantly interesting when the moment is frozen in time.



    [​IMG]




    Here are five tips for getting great results with high-speed subjects:

    1) Use a fast shutter speed - This is pretty common sense but the faster the shutter speed the more likely that you will rid the picture of all motion blur. You may have to increase your ISO to allow the use of this shutter speed in darker situations. I recommend at least 1/250th of a second for water droplet pictures.

    2) Using a flash - A flash is great because it can fire a beam of light that only lasts a tiny amount of time. The extra light from the flash will help allow the use of a higher shutter speed. Trying experimenting with an off camera flash, or a bounce flash for more natural lighting. High wattage lighting setups can be very helpful if you are working in a controlled environment. Basically the more light on your subject, the better.

    3) Use manual exposure mode - This is about the only time that I use the fully manual mode on my camera. For shooting things such as water droplets, you need to control the shutter speed, depth of field, and flash output independently. By using a very stopped down aperture, such as f/22, you can get the depth of field needed for the entire water droplet to be in focus. You will need to set your shutter speed manually to something very fast, and you will need to control your lighting output to match your other parameters.

    4) Adjust your focus settings - Getting the focus right in these shots is one of the most difficult things about them. A use of a small aperture helps by increasing the depth of field (and thus your margin of error). Many cameras cannot auto focus fast enough to catch a water droplet in mid air. Most just end up focusing on the background. If you have a magic camera that can auto focus so fast it can catch a single droplet midair, please send me an email. For everyone else, you may find that it is easier to switch to manual focus when you know how far away your subject will be. Once you have the focus set properly, then all you need to do is nail the timing.

    5) Take a lot of shots - Unfortunately this is a type of photography that demands a lot of trial and error. Nailing the timing perfectly is very difficult. Many of my shots are either taken too late, or before the droplet enters the frame. Adjust your focus area, depth of field, and shutter speed to see what works best for your setup.

    The results will be worth it!

    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. whitemore55

    whitemore55 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Good post and also useful. It will be very helpful who want to be a professional photographer.Thanks for sharing. I will really remember the tips.

    If you get any this kind of tips or information please don't forget to share.
     
  3. Olga_pv

    Olga_pv TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Russia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Thank you for the tips, I am running away to try this
     
  4. Bynx

    Bynx TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    366
    Location:
    Just outside Toronto Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    There are also a few things to consider when creating the setup. For instance, the height of the dripping water to the bowl. The depth of water in the bowl. How fast the drops are apart. Having a slow drop rate will give clean columns as the example shown. If the drops are closer together then there is a chance of a collision between the rising column and the next drop creating a fantastic umbrella look. This umbrella look has been very elusive to me but I keep trying. This is a common shot I did this morning with a slow drop rate. Controlling a faster drip rate I find difficult. You almost want the water to come pouring out in a stream. As to focusing manual is the only way to go as mentioned. What I do is keep the water level below the height of a AA battery. Then I place the battery in the dish directly under the drip path. When the drip is right on the middle post of the battery I can then focus on that spot. Take away the battery and you are right in focus. Having a small fstop like f14 and the DOF will cover the height of the column if you happen to be shooting down on the column.

    [​IMG]
     
    • Like Like x 2
  5. 90AWDSM

    90AWDSM TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2008
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Moreno Valley, Ca
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I also have been trying to get the Umbrella Drop and have no luck in capturing it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Bynx

    Bynx TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Messages:
    2,804
    Likes Received:
    366
    Location:
    Just outside Toronto Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Here is a drip cycle from a faucet.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. tevo

    tevo Recovering TPF Junkie Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    2,507
    Likes Received:
    440
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Nice thread, very informative! I will probably try this out sometime tomorrowww
     
  8. CyberPhotography

    CyberPhotography TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2011
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Zagreb,Croatia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Probably the most creative thread here ;)..can you tell please a few tip on lighting?my lighting is always bad when i try this :(
     
  9. tevo

    tevo Recovering TPF Junkie Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2010
    Messages:
    2,507
    Likes Received:
    440
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    ^^This! How would one go about lighting water... >__>
     
  10. Olga_pv

    Olga_pv TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2011
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Russia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    As for me, I failed :(

    I couldn't catch the column and I wonder how to do it, from 90 shots I caught it only once, and it was out of focus... Bynx wrote about manual focus, so I should use it instead of AF... What about shutter speed? I used 1/1000, maybe slower better? With flash or without? I did with flash.

    And why everybody has very beautiful colored water? Is it Photoshop or the bowl or what?

    I really want to do it and i want it nice, but how?
     
  11. Drake

    Drake TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Messages:
    684
    Likes Received:
    10
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Playing with water is always fun. Any tips on backgrounds in bowl droplets?
     
  12. Compaq

    Compaq Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Messages:
    3,356
    Likes Received:
    600
    Location:
    Norway
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
common water droplet shutter speed
,
fast shutter speed ideas
,
fast shutter speed photography
,
fast shutter speed water
,
high speed photography settings
,
high speed photography techniques
,

high speed photography tips

,

high speed water photography

,
ink in water photography tutorial
,
water fast shutter speed photography