We seem to be heated all throughout the country weather-wise. It’s time to take shelter with the air conditioner when it gets this hot (we’ve been in the 100s). Landscape and wildlife photography take a bit of a back seat. What to do, what to do with my camera while indoors? I’m going to pen a few articles with some ideas. Here’s the first one on water droplet photography.
Water droplet photography
Water droplet photography is ideal when you’re stuck indoors. Go to your local framer and ask for a sheet of picture frame glass. A 16×20 inch is a good size. I have a 20×30-inch piece I use. If you don’t want to buy a specific piece of glass for this you can take down a frame from your wall and ‘borrow’ the glass for your project. You can support a piece of glass with a couple of boxes. Make sure the glass is level so your water drops don’t run away from you. It’s important that the glass is treated properly.
Part of the secret to good-looking droplets is treating your glass with Rain X. Rain X is helps make water run off car windshields quickly. It has the added benefit of making the water bead up on the glass, making the shape better for recording subjects in the droplets. Follow the directions to spray on the glass, wipe off and polish dry. Then, wait at least a half-hour before allowing the surface to become wet. Note that Rain X is volatile , so make sure your space has proper ventilation or treat your glass outdoors.
You might want to employ a spray bottle to wet the glass. It’s a tip I learned the hard way. Fill your bottle a day or two before you have your photo session. If you fill up the bottle from the tap and start to use it right away you could end up with tiny air bubbles in your water drops. That caused me to do a fair amount of unnecessary retouching on one of my projects. Not sure if maybe you started with distilled water rather than getting it from the faucet this problem might not rear its ugly head.
After playing with the spray bottle with straight water I tried a mixture of glycerin and water. I used distilled water mixed 50/50. The mixture was placed in a dropper bottle. The dropper allows for placing drops exactly where you want them. With the combination of glycerin and water placed on the Rain X treated glass my water drops held their shape.
Anything colorful will make for some cool shapes and patterns. This is one of those projects where you start with flowers as the natural first subjects and start experimenting with anything that will fit under the glass. I raided my fruit drawer and used various combinations of fruit.
You can handhold your camera and lens. I find more control when mounted especially if you want to increase the depth of field by using focus stacking. For me, the camera works best when directly over the water drops. It’s also helpful if using a macro lens and trying to accomplish some focus stacking as part of your capture process. See the photo for my set and description of gear. Camera Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III with a 60mm macro lens.
Yours in Creative Photography,
P.S. This is a good project when it’s too cold to venture forth as well!