Splashing Rain Drops

Yes, I did it again. Last year at a rainy day on board a cruise ship I used the boring time during rain to shoot some rain drops splashing down onto the deck. I have published some of those photos in a former post.

400mm  f/8  1/1000sec  ISO400
This summer I again was travelling with a cruise ship and again we had a rainy afternoon. In fact, short but really heavy rain showers were hitting the vessel. The slightly uneven deck floor created some shallow puddles of water. From an upper deck water was dripping down hitting the floor right into those puddles. The result was water splashing around. I immediately remember last year and how much fun it was to try to catch some nice water sculptures. So I grabbed my camera again, sat down on a dry part of the floor and directed the lens to the area where drops were splashing around. In the beginning my position was bit too high, like in the shot here. So I lowered down a bit and increased focal length to get a lower angle.

400mm  f/8  1/320sec  ISO400
At first the amount of dropping water was moderate. I took some continuous photos, verified them at the preview screen and each series contained at least one shot with clearly visible water crowns. The photo above is one example of that. But even with an aperture value of f/8 the area of focus was quite narrow. Often it was just luck that a drop fell down right within focus. So most of the shots were unsharp. Another reason for unsharpness is motion blur caused by slow shutter speeds. But, motion blur is an excellent element for pointing out action. Like in this second shot. After some time of heavy rain the amount of dropping water was so much that it created a total mess of splashing water drops on ground. Every photo was just a mass of dots and lines. No structure could be determined. From time to time there was still one shot with clearly visible water crowns again. This photo is one of them. I love the action and chaos created by flying splashes in the upper left area.

The shower went by and the amount of falling water has lowered to a point were only single drops were coming down. This was a chance to catch one single drop in silent environment. A nice side effect was an even, mirror like surface with nice reflections. This time I could not just hit the release button and keep it pressed. My camera can only store a limited amount of raw photos in it's memory. Usually after 5 shots it make a break for saving files to card. So I needed to guess when the next drop will come down to take my series of 5 shots in a row at exactly this time. But the result is amazing. Slightly motion blurred because of low shutter speed, but still impressive. I like this photo a lot.

400mm  f/8  1/250sec  ISO400

I took these photos with my EOS 500D camera and my excellent EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L zoom lens. Because I was so excited I forgot to adjust or change any camera settings. So I worked with my standard setting, which is Av mode with fixed aperture value of f/8 and a fixed ISO value of 400. Shutter speed was calculated automatically. In these quite gray light situations the resulting shutter speed was a bit too low. I did not use any tripod. Instead I stabilized myself by sitting down on the floor, resting my arm onto my knee. Image stabilization and heavy weight of my lens reduced further shaking.