Squirt photography…Posted: November 15, 2011
Today was definitely an interesting day and a learning experience!
Ever since Rachel Jane told me that the yellow flowers I included in my Day 1 post were used by boys to squirt water at the girls when she was younger. I wanted to see if I could capture the droplets as they exploded out of the flower bud. I’ve recently been inspired by the water droplet photography of Heinz Maier, who has done some breathtaking work. I almost feel like I wouldn’t even be able to approach what he’s been able to create, so I’ve been thinking about how I can use similar techniques to capture other types of photos.
In order to prep for my shoot, I did a quick search of the web and came across PhotosbyKev’s advice on how to take photos of water droplets. The most important piece of information I gleaned from it was that I should manually set the flash to 1/64-1/128 of full power, as any brighter setting will lengthen the time the flash bulb stays on, creating motion blur.
For this shoot I started out putting my Raynox DCR-250 Super Macro lens onto my 50mm f1.8. It’s a great, inexpensive way of turning a 50mm into a macro lens. I also used my tripod and an SB700 flash with a Lumiquest Softbox III on it.
Here’s what I would consider the best:
I collected almost 100 unopened buds and proceeded to experiment to get that perfect capture. Here’s what I found:
- Instead of the usual major confounding factor of trying to capture a droplet with a press of the shutter, I had to deal with having a number of buds that were duds, timing the shutter to the squeezing of my fingers and different buds exploding at different pressures! It made for a slightly frustrating experience at times.
- Trying different setups can help break the frustration. I started with a voice-activated lightstand (read: assistant) – a phrase coined on Strobist – while I played double duty of bud-squeezer and shutter-presser. With the camera on my tripod, I manually focused on a specific point and then would bring the bug into what I thought (not always correctly) was the focal plane. In this arrangement, we tried exploding the buds upwards, sideways and downwards (since I figured I could change their orientation as I saw fit in Lightroom). Having the VAL squeeze and hold the flash proved to be difficult as we had to do a countdown.
- To shoot without an assistant, put the light on the tripod and figure out the rest yourself!
- My arms are about 1 – 2 inches too short to easily shoot with the camera in one hand and a bud in the other. I was constantly straining to get the bud in focus to take the shot! Likely not a problem for most people! 😛
Here’s the rest:
So out of less than 100 shots, I was able to get 12 shots where I actually captured the squirt in a way that was interesting to me. Only 5 have the focus at a level that could make them print-worthy, but I think it might be interesting for you to see the others none-the-less. Hopefully you can tell which ones were taken with and without the macro adapter. But can you tell which were taken in which orientation?
I wasn’t able to get exactly what I was looking for, but I learned a lot and I expect to use these skills again in the future!