I recently had a chance to try out something fun that I had been meaning to do for sometime. I setup a bowl of water and a strobe and tried my hand at capturing the effects of water dropping into a large white pasta bowl.
The setup for this is actually pretty basic. A large bowl of water filled close to the top, camera on a tripod with a remote or cable release, a studio strobe or off camera flash.
The real trick is to realize that the shutter speed of the camera is not what captures the image of the water frozen but the extremely short duration of the flash. A studio strobe (I used a AlienBee Einstein unit) or off camera flash when set to a low power has a very short flash duration and that is what will capture the image seen above.
Setup your flash about 12 to 18 inches away from the center of the power and take a reading with your flash meter is you have one. I set my light to f16 to help increase the depth of field. Next I setup my camera so that the frame was filled by the bowl and the camera was at a 30 to 45 degree angle to the bowl. I used a turkey baster to drop water into the bowl and before I stared shooting I laid it across the center of the bowl and used it a my focus point and then set my lens to manual focus so it would not refocus. Next I connected the flash to the camera via a sync cable and tested my exposure (f16 at 1/200) to ensure a correctly exposed shot. I dimmed the room lights grabbed the remote for the camera and started dropping water into the center of the bowl (my focus point) and then started firing off frames as I dropped water into the bowl. This is really hit or miss as the triggering is being done manually by me but one you shoot 40 to 60 frames check out your results on the LCD. I used the “Protect” function of my camera to mark the images that looked promising and then erased the images that looked like dudes so as to save space on my card but more importantly save time uploading to the computer.
Here are some more examples:
Try other variations as to where the camera is in relation to the bowl, use different items to create different sized water drops, and experiment with the image of the room that is captured in the large drops.