There is always something new to learn: The waterdrop shot part two

Canon 7d/Canon 50mm EF F1.8 lens Induro tripod and ballhead. ISO 100 50mm F 8 @ 1/250 with bounced flash.

I feel like I learned a lot in attempting these shots this past weekend. The main flaw in these images was a stupid mistake on my part. In our household we have two cats and two dogs which means lots of pet hair around. It’s a nightmare for camera gear and I have to segregate my gear from the animals. I inadvertently got some pet hair in the water tray and some of it shows up in the images. Live and learn…next time I will make sure the water tray is in pristine, dust free condition. I used my canon 50mm lens here but I think next time I will switch to my 60mm macro lens.

The spread of the ripples after the water drop hits the surface of the water tray only spread so much and with the 50 mm there was just too much cropping. I used a plain old ziplock bag to hold the water with a tiny hole poked in the bottom. I found that any stray light in the room reflects through the water in the bag causing weird reflections in the resulting images. It was an easy fix as I used some dark tape on the outside of the plastic bag and this cured the problem. Actually getting an image of the water drops as the hit the water below was a challenge in itself. I started by using the viewfinder to make the images but I quickly found that this was futile. You just can’t react fast enough and with a flash you can’t do a burst of 10 images in a row. The best way I found was to take a minute and time the drops, step back from the viewfinder but still with my hand on the shutter button and look at the point where the water drops hit the surface of the water tray. Its easier to react and press the shutter if you watch the water as it falls from up above. Always keep in mind to take lots of notes. My images were not perfect and I am going to have to practice a bit more with these shots to get them perfect.

The notes will help so I am not always going in the same direction and getting the same result. Patience is also required as it can be a slow process watching a drop of water form and then drop. All in all I would say the experiment was a success and now I have a new project for the rainy days that keep me indoors!


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