My Water Drop Collision Setup
Due to a couple of people showing an interest in my water collision shots, I thought i would put together this little walkthrough explaining how i do it.
This is a VERY primitive setup, but it works - no expensive solonoids, IR triggers or suchlike. although i am not ruling those bits out in the future!
Most all the equipment can be found lying around the house.
First, we need a method of regulating the waterflow. Slow for drip shots, crowns,etc., and fast for collision shots. I use a homemade Mariotte Siphon - very high tech piece of equipment as you will see in the photos:
it is a plastic bottle with an air inlet tube passed through the screwtop lid, sealed to make airtight. A second hole is punched near the base of the bottle to accommodate the water outlet pipe.
The end of the air inlet tube is just above the level of the bottom hole.
The principal of this siphon is that the rate of flow of water depends on the difference in height between the water outlet pipe and the bottom of the air inlet pipe. You would adjust the depth of the air inlet pipe to adjust the flow rate. However, I find it easier to seal both pipes in a fixed position and just raise or lower the whole bottle. This has the same effect on the flow rate.
This siphon gives a CONSTANT flow rate no matter what the water level is, unlike a dripping tap which I first used. This is because it is governed by ATMOSPHERIC PRESSURE, not water pressure.
Siphon in more detail...............
this was the largest bottle i had to hand but i plan on an upgrade very shortly, once my wife has finished the bottle of (sugar free) Ribena.
So that is the flow rate sorted.
Now, how to freeze the action.
I use a remote flashgun, strategically poked through an exquisitely engineered hole through the side of a cardboard box.........
the photo is self explanatory, showing flashgun, reflective background to bounce the flash off, and water drip tray.
Here is the whole setup, ready for action, apart from the fact there is no water in the siphon!
Pink wall and photo of Torres not required.
Note the high tech wizardry involved to adjust height of waterdrops and the siphon. I add or remove cardboard boxes of varying size.
I find a drop height of about 40 - 50cm works best for collision shots.
Shutter speed is irrelevant. It is the flash which freezes the action. I set mine to1/64 or 1/32 speed - any slower and the droplets would blur.
Some of these photos were taken in dark room using 5sec shutter speed. The flash was triggered manually at, hopefully, the right moment.
Focus at the point of entry; use a pen or a knife edge to focus on, placing it where the drops fall.
Depth of field is entirely personal choice - I like the drop only to be in focus so use a macro setting and plenty of zoom with an aperture around f8 or f9.
Single drop and crown photos are easiest - success rate about 10 in 15.
Collisions are less successful - I started with a rate of 1 keeper in every 100 shot. Slowly getting better rate as I experiment with timing, drop height, size of container etc.
Let the water flow and hold a separate container under the drips to allow water in the catching tray to settle. Remove and allow drips to fall and immediately fire the flash. Hopefully the timing will be right.
you can use the flash to strobe the drops prior to shooting and you can tell if the drip rate is correct for what shot you want. For collision shots I find the rate needs to be very fast - not a constant flow but just short of it. If you use the flashgun to strobe and watch carefully you see the second drop halfway through its fall just as the frist drop has hit the bottom and is about to rebound to form a peak.
Container needs to be shallow but not too shallow or you won't get the rebound required to catch a collision. I use margerine tubs of various colours -about 2.5 inch depth.
so thats how I do the water stuff. There are probably hundreds of other methods that work better but it passes the time when stuck indoors.
you can also use milk......
and one final one to sign off.......
nothing to do with water. i just like it.
Feel free to add your own pics - would love to see a mid air collision if anyone catches one.
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