Saturday, June 27, 2009


As liquid pearls descent swiftly -giving into gravity. Your mind is already lip-syncing the “drip” that follows after. But just before that conclusion, Charlotte visually shares a short-story of the drops that where.

In my attempt to bring different styles and techniques to control the variety. I have noticed that sometimes the main attraction can also be the subject and more importantly- what you can create with it (example: the matches/ match boxes used in the Laika video post). In this post Charlotte shares her creative photography captures, which include: timing, color gels, coins, Milk, and paints- that create a colorful display... before, during, and after the splash.

Each shot has its own character. Some droplets play follow-the-leader to a larger drop, while time creates a distance from each other. And in other shots, the arrangements of the drops are somewhat reminiscent of a system in outer space. I can’t help not-be-drawn to these images, as they are quite calming, but at the same time they inspire possibilities in my own creative experiments.

I believe 3 questions are now in order.

(1) I would like to learn a bit about your set-up, equipment and the HiViz quit. And also how all of this comes together to capture these great shots. (I have no idea about any of this nor about the HiViz quit and it would be a great insight for others who don’t either)

C- The basis behind these shots is that you can use the flash pulse to freeze the motion you are trying to capture. A flash can pulse at 1/10,000th of a second or even faster depending on the strength of the flash. This is much fast that most normal shutter speeds. To capture the motion in the manner, you first set-up your equipment (to be described in a moment), turn out the lights, open the shutter, perform whatever action that you are trying to capture and make sure your flash fires while you do it, close the shutter, and see what you have captured. This can be done without much fancy equipment, provided you have enough timing and coordination to try to (if you are going to water drop shots) manually fire the flash at the exact moment the drop hits the surface or pool of liquid. This is hard to do...I’ve tried without much success. The best way is to use some sort of kit to trigger the flash. I use kits from The one I used here is the light activated trigger kit. Basically, you receive a breadboard and a bag of resistors, capacitors, potentiometers, phototransistors, etc...Everything you need to build a circuit that will trigger your flash based on whatever criteria’s you are looking for. There is also a delay built into the circuit so that a drop falling will trigger the circuit, but the flash wont fire until the drop actually hits. As I said, I used the Light Activated circuit, meaning that when light strikes the phototransistor (provided in the kit) the flash is triggered. I have actually done this the hard way, I should have used a photogate trigger, but I couldn't get it to work at the time...fairly certain I fried either the LED or the receiver when I first plugged it in... So, I had to make due for the time being the light activated trigger. To make this work, I took a Laser pen and aimed it directly at the Phototransistor. The flash fires when the light first hits it, but if you leave the laser light pointed at the receiver, it will not fire again until the light is removed and shot at the receiver again. Then, I set up a turkey baster filled with milk, positioned such that any drops that fell would fall through the beam, causing the flash to trigger. The issues I had were that I could not get the droplets to break the beam long enough such that the capacitor had time to recharge (essentially, they weren't breaking the beam long enough to trigger the flash). So I would have to squirt a big stream of milk out of the turkey baster to get the flash to trigger. I was able to get this to work however, at least to an extent, and I eventually was able to be pretty consistent in getting the flash to trigger when I wanted it to. Once the setup was good to go, it was just a matter of picking out food coloring and trying not to make a huge mess. To get the drops to pick up the food coloring, I would just put a drop of two of whatever color(s) I was going for right where I thought the drop from the baster would hit. The surface I was dropping onto was a reflective piece of poster board. At the end of the set containing the high speed shots there are some setup shots with some explanatory notes that you are welcome to use.

(2)Why photograph- drops and liquids?

C-Why not? It’s pretty what happens in such a small length of time. You can't see this reaction with the naked eye and it’s a lot of fun just to see what cool things you can capture. The bright colors and how the milk reacts with them are also very interesting. Also, I am an engineer by profession, so I love projects like this that require me to think outside of the box and figure out how to do things.

(3)The best experience through experimenting so far has been?

C-The best experience is probably going through all of the setup and work, and then sitting back and looking at the LCD screen after every shot to see what I have captured. Every shot is different, some work and some don't, but it’s always a surprise.

Charlotte-23 years old
Equipment: Nikon D60 with 18-200mm lens, SB-600 speedlight
Currently living in Florida



blorange dice said...

WOW, these pictures are amazing. i love the idea of capturing something that can't be seen with the naked eye!! there's so much beauty in this world. (:

oh, and thank you for the encouragement (as far as gray hairs go)! haha

Lady P said...

I just love you blog. full stop. beautiful stuff

Rena said...


Anonymous said...

great back to back posts

Rice Candy said...

Lady p- thanks a bunch!

blorange- Charlotte did a wonderful job with these, and aya go gray hairs! :)

Rice Candy said...

The next post should actually be pretty interesting, I am lucky to find different styles and bring it all together here in this bloggy blog.

Lady P said...

Hey there fascinating bit of Rice Candy! I left you an award over on the ole blog today. You can come get it and play, or just bask in the knowledge that in my world - you rock!

JD said...

the concept isn't so new, but the pics have a radiance of their own.. beautiful pics

Davenz said...

Perfect photos of drops...Thanks
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