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Water Droplets - A step by step guide

General Photography

Water Droplets - A step by step guide

Posted by: cardiff_gareth on Fri Jun 15, 2012 20:29   (3295 Reads)
So here is my step by step article on photographing water droplets.

I can't take all the credit for this as I read it online elsewhere but the images were lacking on the set up so I hope this helps.
The valve listed below allows the water feed to be altered for continuous fast drips or very slow drip rates.
Firstly we need a few items:
1. Aquarium airline. I got 4 metres as its cheap as chips and I only used probably 2 metres of that !

2. A 2 litre pop bottle

3. An Algarde starter valve - think mine was 99p online!

Next is to cut a small hole in the side of the bottle around 3/4 of the way up. I used scissors but they slip easily and I nearly caught my fingers so beware! Then making sure the hole is large enough not to crimp the airline shut feed the airline in and down into the base of the bottle before sellotaping it in place. I used electrical tape but any tape will do:

What we're going to do is cause a natural gravity fed syphon.
I had mine on a chair that was on a table so I measured the distance from chair seat to base, gave a little extra and then cut the airline. Next I added the vale before then attaching a shorter length of airline to the other valve connector. One thing I did luckily was to put the vale in a container in case it leaked as I guessed it was designed for air not water......... I was right, it did leak!

I then poured some food dye into the bottle and then filled the rest with tap water taking care to fill it just under the hole in the side we just made. The bottle was then put in place and connected to the valve with it closed to stop it dripping.

This shows the set up:

Note the smaller length of airline exits the valve and travels along my placemat! I'm going to get a ruler and tape it to that instead but when I took these I was making it as I went along! This is to make sure that the drip is in the same position every time and it cannot get knocked and moved as when we manually focus we want to keep it in focus!

So we have the water droplet feed and the ability now to alter its flow so next is the business end where the image will be taken!

Using my wifes large square pyrex dish that we use for cooking I added the rest of the food dye and then filled it up so it was as deep as I could get it. This was placed under the placemat that had the exit airline tubing. I don't want the wood of the seat to shine through and effect the water colour so a piece of white card is placed under the pyrex dish.

Closer shot of the business end:

Next the flash is set up camera right on manual power 1/16 output. I used an off camera cord and sat the flash on a studio stand. The camera is tripod mounted, off camera cord attached, camera in manual mode with manual focus set. I also used a wired remote to stop any further camera shake and also it gave me the ability to see more so I would 'try' and time the shutter better.

When shooting, keen an eye on the valve as I found the dish its in did fill up surprisingly fast!

An image taken with the above set up:

A few things I noticed were
1. I had a reflection on the base of the pyrex dish from the waters surface being shifted about so next time I'll be shooting in something deeper. I'm thinking of trying a uber large storage box that's deeper than the pyrex dish

2. The angle you shoot from makes a difference. The first 20 images I took had a nasty background in so I shot higher up looking down as to minimise background clutter.

3. Make sure that if you use your wives pyrex dish that she uses for cooking firstly tell her DOH! and then make sure you scrub it clean of baked on food otherwise you'll be enjoying Photoshop's healing tool - DOH again!
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