Armed with a Splash Art Kit 2, Andy Taylor takes aim at the world of water-drop photography
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  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  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 , and I started getting amazing results. It’s now one of my go-to techniques for creating splash art photography.
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
 , 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  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
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.
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.
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!
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