Create a globe in a droplet of water
More ocean in the drop than drop in the ocean...
01 Position the map
Position a world map upside-down with a glass of water in front of it. If you don’t have a world map, download one from www.nasa.gov and print it at A3. Set your camera on a tripod, and fix a water dropper to a stand above the glass so that the drops hit the same spot every time they fall.
04 Stay sharp
Precise focusing is tricky. The solution: grab a pencil. Let a few drops fall to determine where they’ll hit the water, lay the pencil along the top of the glass at the point where they fell, switch to manual focus and focus on it, then remove it.
02 Light the print
Angle an off-camera flash towards the map. Ours was triggered using the camera’s pop-up flash and Nikon’s Creative Lighting System, but a wireless trigger or short cable will also work. Set the flash power low so it’s fast enough to freeze the motion of the droplet. We used 1/32 power.
05 Dim the lights
The drops will move fast, and any light other than the flash may blur their motion, so darken the room to keep ambient light to a minimum (it doesn’t need to be pitch black). Allow the drops to fall and fire the shutter as they hit the surface.
03 Think about settings
Select Manual mode and set the shutter speed to your camera’s max sync speed (1/250 sec in this case). You’ll need a small aperture for maximum depth of field, but you also want to use low flash power, so you’ll have to increase the ISO. We set the aperture to f/16 and the ISO to 400.
06 Time it right
You need to press the shutter at the moment the drop hits the water, which is tricky. Be prepared to spend a while dropping and shooting until you capture a spherical drop. When you do capture one, check it’s sharp using your LCD screen.