Results from my H20 Drop study

Discussion in 'Macro Photography' started by Johnboy2978, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've been playing with this for a few days now. I'm still not quite where I want to be with these, but I have gotten some results that I feel good about. I am far from getting the razor focus that I would like. C/C appreciated:


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  2. Caffler

    Caffler TPF Noob!

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    I've been trying this as well recently and these are far better than what I have so far.
    Nice work.
    How are you lighting these?
     
  3. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    a single alien bee 800 strobe. camera info is 1/180 and aperture is between f/8 and f/22 ISO 100. Lens is a Sigma 70mm macro.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I think the focus on these is actually pretty good, but it looks like there's a very slight bit of blurring going on, possibly from the flash duration not being quite fast enough. I know the Alien Bee monolights have their shortest flash duration at full power, so if the power has been dialed down a bit, that will lengthen the flash duration.
     
  5. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Actually Derrel, I had this set on the lowest power output setting possible. Maybe it was a little camera shake from the mirror?
     
  6. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Well, if you had an Alien Bee 800 set to its lowest 1/32 power level the flash duration is between 1/1650 and 1/550 second, which is pretty slow for water droplet action. AlienBees Specs Chart

    My feeling is that at a really high sync speed like 1/180 second, you might be getting only the less-bright and longer "tail" end of the flash burst. ALthough it might seem like it's plenty fast, on water drop shots like this done with speedlight flashes at very close range, one can often see micro-droplets that form what many call the "crown", around the impact crater.

    Using a small speedlight flash set to a low power like 1/16 or even lower, the flash duration times can be as shot as 1/35,000 second, with 1/10,000 quite easily reachable. I am just looking at the smoothness of the water and the craters or ripples, and the way the drops are rendered. I think I see a bit of what looks like subject motion blur. I am assuming the ambient light exposure is at least 5 stops below the flash exposure; it should be, according to most people who shoot this kind of water droplet action. if the room lights are fairly bright, some of the blurring could be coming from the ambient light causing a very slightly blurred look, and then the flash freezing the rest of the moving water.
     
  7. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Derrel, I went back to work, this time using my Sigma 500 DG Super speedlight in addition to my alien bee. I abandoned it earlier b/c it was requiring a pre-flash before actually firing which was useless due to being unable to time it. I used the AB basically to trigger the slave flash of the sigma which was the primary light for the background and it worked much better. I think you can tell from these images, but the hi-res versions are crystal clear. I came away with many still to process. These are basically SOOC with just a little crop and hue adjustment.

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  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Wow, the second batch photos look super cool! I like the highlight the other flash unit is providing, since it gives a little tiny clue to the eye. My favorite are the first and second photos of the second batch.
     
  9. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for taking the time to comment Derrel. If it weren't for your knowledge of flash duration, I wouldn't have gone back to doing a second take, but that really made a difference in the clarity and sharpness of focus.
     

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