Drop Drop Drop

Today I wanted to try something spectecular. I've seen some exciting pictures of water drops on several internet sources and decided to try this experiment for my own.

In this shooting I learned a lot. Shooting a falling water drop is kind of diffcult, because it is kind of high speed photography. I tried with different apertures and different shutter speeds. Also I used several distances to the water tap. First I was too close. I wanted to get as close as possible, but I realized, that the focus depth was too tight. On the other hand, the falling drops became so long, they went out of the picture in their best stage. So I went a little more back with my camera and got much better results. Second thing that was important was my flash. The flash makes the high speed photo. And shorter flashes reduce motion blur. To achieve this I set the flash control to manual and chose a very low intensity. I suppose that the intensity is controlled by the duration of the flash. So a lower intensity gives a shorter flash which reduces motion blur. But with such low intensity you have to place the flash really close to the drop to get a photo with good light conditions.

The setup: I decided to use the water tap in my kitchen because I could better arrange my equipment there. I placed my EOS 500D  camera at about the hight where drops are coming out and really close to the tap. The flash was placed on several locations, sometimes on the right side, sometimes on the left. The photos shown here are shot with the flash on the right side. I connected the camera with my laptop computer for remote control and to prevent camera shakes. The lens I used was my EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro lens. The flash was my Speedlite 320EX. I opend the water tap just a little so a drop comes out at about every 5 to 10 seconds. At the beginning of the shooting I had a higher dropping speed, but then it was very difficult to catch a drop because everything went so fast. With drops every 5 to 10 seconds you can catch the moment when the drop falls off much better. As the background I tried some plastic table clothes protection plate with a nice flower printed on it. But the white tiles as background are great, too.

The camera settings: The camera was set to completly manual mode. I've chosen an aperture of f13 to get the complete drop quite clear. The shutter speed was limited by the flash. I couldn't get lower than 1/200 sec. But that was enough, because the flash makes the high speed shot. I set flash control to manual and chose a flash intensity of 1/64. This was the lowest possible value. ISO was set to 400.

And now it was to me to release the shutter in the right moment. I got shots in every stage of a drop fall, from just building up up to falling off. I was much surprised of what I've catched!

The first three photos are shot with the plastic flower plate as background. They show three different stages of the drop fall. First the drop is just building up, second it's close to falling off and in the last one the drop has fallen off and left the image. The string it was dangling on just builds up its own drops. Looks like a sparkling pearl chain.

The next 3 photos are taken with no special background but with only the white tiles. I'm not sure, but I think I like them more than the ones with the flower.

In the end I'm more than satisfied with my first try in shooting water drops. The result is not perfect, but for the first attempt I would say, they are great. I love them!