Port­fo­lio re­view

Armed with a Splash Art Kit 2, Andy Tay­lor takes aim at the world of wa­ter-drop pho­tog­ra­phy

NPhoto - - Over To You... -

We of­fer our in­formed opin­ion about one reader’s wa­ter drop shots with a dif­fer­ence – where he stacks shots and tweaks colours

With my Splash Art Kit 2, I set up some Nikon SB-800s and Meike 910 Speed­lights and placed a white back­drop be­hind a bowl of wa­ter. Then I started to pho­to­graph the re­sult­ing splashes with my Nikon D300 and D2X. My first im­age [1] started out as a ba­sic ‘crown splash’. It looked good, but I felt it needed some­thing more for the im­age to re­ally pop. I tried this shot a few times and then care­fully se­lected three dif­fer­ent images that would eas­ily edit to­gether in Pho­to­shop to cre­ate this tower. It took quite a bit of time, but I feel it was worth it.

I com­posed my sec­ond im­age [2] level with the wa­ter­line and got one splash, so I con­tin­ued for a short while. But af­ter look­ing through the dif­fer­ent splashes I’d cap­tured I thought about putting two or three images to­gether to see what a dif­fer­ence this would make. Ichose three dif­fer­ent shots again and su­per­im­posed them atop

one an­other. I then did a bit of colour tweak­ing in Pho­to­shop El­e­ments to achieve this fi­nal re­sult.

So, af­ter shoot­ing splash art images for just over a year, I felt I needed to make images that stood apart from those I had seen else­where. Ide­cided to buy a chil­dren’s bub­ble blower and ex­per­i­ment, and started blow­ing bub­bles on top of glass items. I wanted to see if they would be bro­ken by a splash, or whether a splash would drip through the bub­bles. They re­mained in­tact, as you can see here [3], and I started get­ting amaz­ing re­sults. It’s now one of my go-to tech­niques for cre­at­ing splash art pho­tog­ra­phy.

N-Photo says

These images are unique, Andy, and you’ve def­i­nitely achieved what you set out to get. We’re sure that most of the read­ers of N-Photo have seen wa­ter-drop pho­tog­ra­phy many times be­fore, and even at­tempted it at some point. What we love about your images is their shape. By stack­ing mul­ti­ple images of wa­ter splashes you’ve created some ut­terly dif­fer­ent and – dare we say – im­pos­si­blelook­ing shapes. The tech­nique of com­bin­ing three shots, as in Foun­tain

[1] , has proved to be a good use of your Pho­to­shop­ping skills. The pre­ci­sion with which your splashes have been cap­tured is clearly demon­strated by their clear, sharp lines against the white back­drop.

Some may – wrongly – think that this tech­nique is achieved with a fast shut­ter speed, but in re­al­ity it’s the flash­guns that are do­ing all the freez­ing. It’s all-too-easy to cre­ate flare when shoot­ing with Speed­lights, es­pe­cially small-scale such as this, but ev­ery shot is clear and wellde­fined with no flare in sight.

Wa­ter Col­li­sion [2] dis­plays a clear un­der­stand­ing of both shoot­ing and edit­ing. It’s not enough to take a few shots and push them to­gether in Pho­to­shop; they need to flow from

Af­ter look­ing through the dif­fer­ent splashes I’d cap­tured I thought about putting two or three to­gether to see what a dif­fer­ence this would make

Man­ual MODE

Andy has used spe­cial­ist kit to pro­duce these wa­ter-drop pho­tos, but you needn’t splash out. By us­ing a pipette and bowl of wa­ter, you can cre­ate wa­ter-drop images at home. You’ll just need a lit­tle per­se­ver­ance to man­u­ally squeeze out the drops as you take the shot.

Freeze flash

Flash­gun out­put du­ra­tion can be as short as 1/30,000 sec, so your 1/8000 sec shut­ter speed doesn’t come close in its abil­ity to freeze the ac­tion. By us­ing a flash­gun you can also cap­ture an im­age that’s bril­liantly bright with­out run­ning the risk of un­der­ex­po­sure.

Back drop

A sim­ple white back­drop is best for this kind of shoot. The de­tail on the wa­ter comes from its tex­ture and shadow ar­eas, so shoot­ing on a darker (or com­pletely black) back­ground makes it more dif­fi­cult to cap­ture the shapes – al­though a de­gree of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion is never a bad thing!

Macro LENS

A macro lens al­lows you to fo­cus closely on the ac­tion, but you could al­ways use a wide-to-tele­photo zoom, as Andy has done. The Sigma 28-300mm gives a wide fo­cal length range, pro­vid­ing you with the op­por­tu­nity to move the splash set-up back and forth to fill the frame.

2 2 1 Wa­ter Col­li­sion Foun­tain Nikon D300, 135mm f/5.6, 1/250 sec, f/16, ISO160 Nikon D300, 135mm f/5.6, 1/250 sec, f/16, ISO160

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