Drop Photography

In March I joined a really fun workshop on drop photography, which took place over 2 (long) evenings. On the first evening, we got an introduction to the basics of this type of photography, and then it was time to try for ourselves! Taking photos of droplets works quite different from what I imagined. I thought you’d have to use bright light and fast shutter speeds, but in reality we used exposure times of 2 seconds in darkness that was only lit up by an external flash. So instead of using a fast shutter speed on your camera, you let the flash determine the shutter speed. The tricky bit is to get the flash to fire at exactly the right moment… It didn’t take long to realise that the most important thing for drop photography is PATIENCE and perseverance :)

Drop photography workshop: a first attempt

That first evening, our goal was to get a picture of the so-called “crown”, the splash when the drop has hit the water. After a lot of trial and error, we managed :)

Almost a crown And yes, here is our first proper crown image!

We also played around with dripping milk into our red liquid (water with food colouring), which gives quite neat results! As a sneak preview of what we were going to do on the second evening, they showed us the drop machine. The really impressive drop photos are the result of 1 drop hitting the water, bouncing back, and then being hit by a second drop, creating a sort of umbrella. This is very hard to do by yourself, so you can buy a drop machine (controlled by a computer), which enables you to set the size of each drop, the time between firing the drops, how many drops you want, etc… In the photo below we used milk dripping into a cup of coffee :)

Dropping milk into a red liquid A milky umbrella on a cup of coffee

The next evening we got to play with the drop machine ourselves. Turns out it’s still very tricky to get it set right. We struggled for quite a while to get the famous “umbrella” photo, similar to the one above.

After much fiddling, we managed to get our own umbrella Once the machine is set correctly, it will keep creating umbrella's

But it’s all good fun, even when the timing goes wrong…

Here you see the impact of the second drop on the (bounced-back) first one, this is just before the umbrella forms A failed attempt, but I thought this one was quite cool - it almost looks like a human shape stuck inside the drop

At some point we created a soap bubble over our glass. We tried to get an umbrella image within the bubble, which took some attempts before we got it right. But again, the failed attempts are just as impressive – and I thought it was really cool to see how drops can pass through a soap bubble!

A drop falling through a soap bubble! Here you can see that the drop is caught in its own mini soap bubble - how cool! And finally we managed the umbrella within the soap bubble :)

It was a really fun workshop! I’d love to do more, but I am a bit overwhelmed by the equipment you need (though they showed us how to build our own with cheap materials) and maybe most of all: how much patience is required. Patience has never been my strongest virtue ;) But just take a look at Corrie White‘s to see where patience and perseverance can take you :) amazing!

2 Responses to “Drop Photography”

  1. qin says:

    Fantastic pictures. I loved them.