Tips for water drop photography?

Ajlista

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I've been reading around a lot and ive found a few useful pointers, use water droppers, but as for camera settings they are all using external flashes where as I currently don't have one. It says around 100iso 1/250 shutter but I'm gunna be using built in flash. It also says to keep my aperture around f 14 Soooo yeah any tips would be great
 

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When using strobed light (flash) shutter speed doesn't have to be used to stop motion, because the duration of the flash of light is short enough to the stop motion instead.

A hot shoe flash unit at full power has a flash duration of about 1/1000 of a second. As flash power is turned down the duration of the flash gets even shorter. A Nikon SB-800 at it's lowest power setting of 1/128 power has a flash duration of about 1/42,000 of a second. Granted 1/128 power is not a lot of light, but 1/4 power has a duration of 1/2500.

Most entry-level DSLR cameras have a x-sync shutter speed of 1/200, not 1/250.

The other key concepts with using strobed light is that the lens aperture controls the strobed light exposure (f/14 won't do), while the shutter speed controls the ambient light exposure.

So you will want to use the built-in flash in manual mode, set to about 1/2 power to start and about f/8. To minimize ambient light leave the shutter set to 1/200.

If the first shot is to dark, open the lens aperture some. If it's to bright, stop the lens aperture down some.

The hard part will be timing the shutter release to the drop of water.
 

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When I attempted the water drop shot, I found it easiest to fill a ziplock bag with water and rig it so it was suspended above the bowl I was working with (I'm pretty sure I clipped the bag to a light stand or something.) I took a needle and poked a hole in the bag and the drops were pretty consistent, which made is pretty easy to time the shots.
 

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Learn the basics and then come up w/ your own original ideas!!! Get creative!!
 
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Ajlista

Ajlista

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Here is my attempt, very veryy bad, im posting it to ask how to get the focus on the top of the drop after it splashes in and well, overall how to improve it.
I know one of them isnt centered too, but its just an example of the missed focus, and just an example in general
1
IMG_3852.jpg

2
IMG_3768.jpg

Thanks,
anthony
 

MTVision

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Ajlista said:
Here is my attempt, very veryy bad, im posting it to ask how to get the focus on the top of the drop after it splashes in and well, overall how to improve it.
I know one of them isnt centered too, but its just an example of the missed focus, and just an example in general
1

2

Thanks,
anthony

How are you focusing?

What I do is use my finger or a pen and put it where the water drips on it. Then manually focus it and leave it there. Maybe try using a smaller aperture.


This was from my first try. I used f/10, 1/200 and ISO 100. I have an external flash so it was easier. The reason you are getting the bright spots on the water is probably because the flash is hitting the water. You could always use some card stock/paper/something to direct the flash so it doesn't hit the water directly. Usually you want the flash to hit the background - or that's what I've read and what's work for me. You'll have to be a little creative since its the pop up.


 

MTVision

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Ajlista said:
Here is my attempt, very veryy bad, im posting it to ask how to get the focus on the top of the drop after it splashes in and well, overall how to improve it.
I know one of them isnt centered too, but its just an example of the missed focus, and just an example in general
1

2

Thanks,
anthony

How high is your water coming from. For the example I posted - I focused on my finger halfway between the dish and where the water was coming from. It worked for me - but to be honest I think it was all beginners luck for me.
 
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Ajlista

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Ajlista said:
Here is my attempt, very veryy bad, im posting it to ask how to get the focus on the top of the drop after it splashes in and well, overall how to improve it.
I know one of them isnt centered too, but its just an example of the missed focus, and just an example in general
1

2

Thanks,
anthony

How are you focusing?

What I do is use my finger or a pen and put it where the water drips on it. Then manually focus it and leave it there. Maybe try using a smaller aperture.


This was from my first try. I used f/10, 1/200 and ISO 100. I have an external flash so it was easier. The reason you are getting the bright spots on the water is probably because the flash is hitting the water. You could always use some card stock/paper/something to direct the flash so it doesn't hit the water directly. Usually you want the flash to hit the background - or that's what I've read and what's work for me. You'll have to be a little creative since its the pop up.


Your attempt was a hundred times better than mine i must say, lol i tried maybe using a flashlight and bouncing it off a piece of paper, and im using a piece of paper towel in the water, focusing, changing to manual and going away at it, I agree with you with my flash, maybe I can try and improvise with lamps and lights instead of using my flash, not sure if that will work but ill give it a shot.

Thanks,
Anthony
 
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Ajlista

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I was probably about 11 inches to a foot away from the water
And how did you get the red color in your water? Food coloring im assuming? Or was that from background?
 

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Ajlista said:
I was probably about 11 inches to a foot away from the water
And how did you get the red color in your water? Food coloring im assuming? Or was that from background?

I honestly can't remember if it was from the background or if it was food coloring. Either way will work. I don't know if a lamp will work. Shouldn't be too hard to make something to direct the flash. You probably want the flash to hit the background vs. the water itself.

I don't know if it will help but...maybe try full manual focus.
 

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Ajlista said:
Here is my attempt, very veryy bad, im posting it to ask how to get the focus on the top of the drop after it splashes in and well, overall how to improve it.
I know one of them isnt centered too, but its just an example of the missed focus, and just an example in general
1

2

Thanks,
anthony

How are you focusing?

What I do is use my finger or a pen and put it where the water drips on it. Then manually focus it and leave it there. Maybe try using a smaller aperture.


This was from my first try. I used f/10, 1/200 and ISO 100. I have an external flash so it was easier. The reason you are getting the bright spots on the water is probably because the flash is hitting the water. You could always use some card stock/paper/something to direct the flash so it doesn't hit the water directly. Usually you want the flash to hit the background - or that's what I've read and what's work for me. You'll have to be a little creative since its the pop up.



MTVision, Did you use a red liquid effect to get the water, or a red background behind. Thinking of giving this another shot tonight. might try milk in cranberry juice.
 
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Ajlista

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Ajlista said:
I was probably about 11 inches to a foot away from the water
And how did you get the red color in your water? Food coloring im assuming? Or was that from background?

I honestly can't remember if it was from the background or if it was food coloring. Either way will work. I don't know if a lamp will work. Shouldn't be too hard to make something to direct the flash. You probably want the flash to hit the background vs. the water itself.

I don't know if it will help but...maybe try full manual focus.
Yeah I think using full manual focus may just be a better idea, and I was gunna use a lamp or something and point it at the background, maybe some led flashlights, going ghetttooo, lol.
Im going down to a soft ball field to try and get some pictures in a little while, but when I get back im gunna give this another go, and tim, that sounds like a pretty good idea, i hadnt though of just using a red colored drink or something, when I started I tried making strawberry milk to give it color, but when it does hit the water it makes it very murky, that was just in my case, not sure how just plain milk will go, tell me how it works out. I might need to try that.

Thanks,
Anthony
 

MTVision

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Ajlista said:
Yeah I think using full manual focus may just be a better idea, and I was gunna use a lamp or something and point it at the background, maybe some led flashlights, going ghetttooo, lol.
Im going down to a soft ball field to try and get some pictures in a little while, but when I get back im gunna give this another go, and tim, that sounds like a pretty good idea, i hadnt though of just using a red colored drink or something, when I started I tried making strawberry milk to give it color, but when it does hit the water it makes it very murky, that was just in my case, not sure how just plain milk will go, tell me how it works out. I might need to try that.

Thanks,
Anthony

Maybe I'm way off base but I don't think those lights are going to work anywhere near as good as the flash. Flash is what is stopping the motion of the falling drop - I mean you could probably take a picture of a drop with a slower shutter speed and still get the same image. Shutter speed doesn't matter as much with flash because flash is so fast.....faster then 1/200.

I found this link where they used continuous lights (lamp) for water drop. I think they said it took 6 lights and a shutter speed of 1/1000. So, I think you might be making it harder then it is. I say just keep at with the pop up flash - but try different things. Also - check your manual to see if you can change the flash output. That might help.



I honestly can't remember if I put food coloring in the water. I know I used a background - but I might have put in food coloring as well.

This picture was done with just a wrapping paper background. The background will reflect in the water which is how some people get their color. Or you can color the water. Whatever works.

 

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