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photographing droplets

refracting images within water droplets

An antique clock within a drop (I took this using the Olympus E-M5 and Olympus ZD 50mm f/2.0 macro - no Photoshop just cropped and resized - see my blog post on how I did this)

  • need a macro lens, preferably 1:1 macro (a 5x macro will allow a droplet to almost fill the frame), and use manual focus
  • off-camera flash with a diffuser +/- white board to act as a reflector and provide fill-in light on the opposite side
  • tripod, preferably with a macro rail to make focus easier
  • background and a subject to be visible within the droplet placed behind the droplet
  • droplets:
    • dew drops outdoors
    • try glycerin (“glycerol”) or glycerine and water indoors for a more stable, bigger, droplet
    • a syringe to drop the droplets
  • shutter speed at flash sync (or can be slower if you wish ambient light to provide some background details)
  • remote shutter release or self timer
  • mirror lockup (not needed on mirrorless cameras obviously)
  • experiment with aperture for adequate depth of field (DOF)
    • as using macro distances, aperture of f/8-16 may be needed for the droplet and hopefully will be sufficient to blur the subject behind the droplet
    • alternatively, shallower depth of field (DOF) can be used if one resorts to focus stacking, this will be more likely needed if one wishes to get multiple droplets in focus
  • see also:

dew drops in spider webs

one of my shots with the Panasonic GH-1 Micro Four Thirds camera with Olympus ZD 50mm f/2.0 macro

water droplets falling into water

  • requirements:
    • flash set to low output to achive very short flash exposures of 1/16,000th sec or shorter (eg. flash set to 1/32 or 1/64 output)
    • macro lens
    • ability to control droplet rate if you wish to image a 2nd droplet landing on the disturbance created by the first:
      • at 6 drops per second to create hat shapes.
      • at 10 drops per second you get mushroom shapes.
      • at 15 drops per second you get flying disc shapes.
    • increase viscosity to get smooth shapes which form longer before breaking up. eg. add guar gum.

"martini glass water splash"

photo/macro_droplets.txt · Last modified: 2017/11/13 18:55 by gary1

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