This article was originally published in 2018 on my old website. I am now re-publishing it here.

This was my first try at splash photography. As always, this blog entry is more a reminder to myself how I did it so I can recreate the shoot later on. If you want some hints from a professional and stunning photos, read here.

My setup for this picture was actually the 2nd attempt. The first setup I did in the bath tub did not work as I could not find enough flat surfaces to place equipment on. About equipment, I used:

  • my standard manfrotto tripod for the camera
  • my Nikon D3200 with a 150mm macro lens (because it is easy to focus manually).
  • a Nikon flash, SB600 (but any flash will do), not mounted on the camera but on a separate small tripod on the side of the object.
  • my MIOPS trigger, in laser mode
  • an (also tripod mounted) laser. It took my a while to find the right one. A laser pointer will not do. The laser must be able to send light constantly, and you must be able to mount it on a tripod. I finally found the Bosch PLL 1 P which does all that. Btw – all the standard warnings for handling lasers apply here. Do not look into the light and especially do not point the laser at the lens of your camera.
  • a glass of water. Or to more precise: a glass to be filled with water after the first few test shots.
  • an object to drop. I used a rubber turtle. Do not use a too small object.
  • a towel. To be placed below the glass.

Setup the laser and the trigger that the laser beam passes over the edge of the glass. Connect the trigger with the flash and setup the flash so it lightens the glass and the object when it drops.Focus your lens. I used a self-printed pattern for that (see this article for links). Now do a few test shots:

  • Set the camera to manual
  • I used f16, to the in-focus zone has some depth
  • you have to set your exposure to bulb mode
  • put the empty (!) glass into position, make sure the laser is switched on and points to the sensor on the trigger, flash is switched on
  • darken the room. Does not have to be completely dark, but remember we are using bulb mode
  • either have an assistant or use one hand to hold down the trigger of the camera and the other to place the object into the laser beam at the top of the glass.
  • if the flash has fired, release the trigger of the camera.
  • check the picture for focus and lighting. Parameters you can change is the power of the flash, placement of the flash, aperture of the lens, placement of the camera.
  • Next is a drop test – drop the object into the empty glass and check if the flash fires at the right moment
  • If the flash fires to early or to late change the delay of the trigger.
  • once you are happy with all that, fill the glass with water and drop the object into the laser beam. If you miss, no problem, try again (release the camera trigger each time and take a new picture). Having an object that floats helps.

This is it – below a few more pictures (including the turtle in mid air).

Home » Splash! » 2018 » 20180825-wt-Platsch

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