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How I took a macro photo of a water droplet

The water droplet

One of the main advantages of using an SLR camera, is that you can focus on a subject directly through a sheet of glass. This is exactly what I did to capture the macro image of a water droplet as shown below.

macro water drop

Macro Water Drop

Exposure: 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture:f/2.8
Focal Length:100 mm
ISO Speed:100

Other information

The aperture for this photograph displays as f/0 due to the use of anextension tube. An extension tube allowed me to close in even further to fully fill the frame with the water droplet. Placing an extension tube between the camera's body and its lens, also meant I had to shoot completely in manual mode.

First lets start with the home studio set up

For starters, a water drop needs to fall into something that is clear enough for you to be able to focus directly through. As you can see by my setup below, a fish tank was perfect for this. Next, I knew for me to have the best chance of capturing the drop, it had to roughly fall into the same area with each splash. Hence, I placed a bag with a small pin hole over the top of the tank. If your following along with this home studio setup, it's also important that you have good lighting and a nice cardboard background placed behind the tank for color.

The image below shows you how to set up a macro studio for capturing water splashes and drops.

how to set up macro studio for water drops

As you can see in the image above, I did try to use a tripod at first. However I found this too limiting and decided later on to hand hold the camera instead.

Where exactly do you need to focus?

When photographing water, it's best to set your digital SLR camera to eithershutter priorityor manual mode (if using anextension tube). You also need to turn off your lens AF (automatic focus). Instead, prefocus through the glass and onto the tip of a pencil, held approximately 1cm above the water in the same area you anticipate the droplet to fall. When you look through the view finder, you should see a red focal point, flashing somewhere around the pencil tip. As this happens, take notice of the position you're standing from the subject. This is how you'll need to be when taking the photographs. Don't turn your camera off or change the lens focal length at this stage, or your settings will be lost. Now you're ready to pierce a small hole in that bag and start taking photographs.

Other useful tips

  • Make sure you use areal macro lensfor best results.

  • You need to literally need to take hundreds of photographs to get a couple you will like.
  • Practise makes perfect. Macro water photography takes a lot of patience.
  • Try different colored backgrounds. For example, the image below was photographed with a red piece of cardboard placed behind the tank. No photoshop editing has been used other than to resize for display purposes. Hence, the red color is shown exactly how the photo was saved directly from the camera.

colored water droplet

Colored Water Drops

 
Exposure: 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture: f/2.8 
Focal Length: 100 mm 
ISO Speed: 100 
Exposure Program: Shutter priority

Other information

This time an extension tube was not used to take this photograph. Therefore eliminating the need for fully manual camera settings. Note, I still had to turn off AF (automatic focus) on the actual lens. Not all macro lens have this option so don't worry too much if you can't find AF on your lens.

The camera was set to shutter priority with a speed of 0.005 sec (1/200). This enabled me to shoot fast enough to capture a moving droplet. To do this with such a small aperture, I also needed to use my camera's flash. This ensured the photograph didnt turn out completely black. 

9 people like this.

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Date Wed, 04/05/2011 - 19:03
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Hiyah

What an interesting entry in this section.  I hope you get some more folk to pop along and see this.  Don't forget, you can always put a link in the UK Chat section to advertise you have put in a new entry.

Nice easy to follow instructions of the set-up with great great results.  I am nipping over now to look at the other ones you have put in.  Thanks very much indeed,  a very interesting and well put together Photo Feature.

Cheers

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Date Wed, 04/05/2011 - 19:11
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i really like this great idea will have to try this one out when i get a chance thanks for take the time to post this photo feature

 

lianne

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Date Tue, 10/05/2011 - 15:30
Comment

absolutely amazing, when I see stuff like this I am humbled.but also enthusiastic about trying it out for myself. you have explained very well in laymans terms, Thankyou.

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Date Tue, 17/05/2011 - 11:53
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I agree with blessed covenant, Thanks for showing us the way!

 http://www.myfinepix.com/gallery/1262

 

 

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Date Fri, 27/05/2011 - 01:21
Comment

siiiiiik! So trying this sometime!

I thought it was kind of funny how creativity naturally comes to you. " For example, the image below was photographed with a red piece of cardboard placed behind the tank. No photoshop editing has been used other than to resize for display purposes. Hence, the red color is shown exactly how the photo was saved directly from the camera" I NEVER would have thought of that. Smile

respect.

--~Don't tell God how big your storm is, tell the storm how big your God is~--

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Date Sat, 17/09/2011 - 16:23
Comment

What a wonderful blog, thanks for sharing, I has no idea how these were done.

 

Marion

 

 

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Date Mon, 17/10/2011 - 20:54
Comment

Just Love your work Fabulous .I will try this!!

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