Strawberry Splash

What would you do at home when the rain seems never let up and you’re already bored with almost everything? Why not try some new trick with indoor photography?

With a 10-gallon fish tank I bought last week (for just 14 bucks), I set out to try my first water splash photography at home. Here is my setup:

1. Canon 580II Speedlite, the master flash (wrapped with a plastic bag to guard against water splash)

2. Yongnuo YN467 Speedlite, the slave flash (wrapped with a plastic bag to guard against water splash)

3. Canon  EOS 5D II + 50mm f1.4 or 100mm f2.8 macro

4. A no-name flash triggering wireless transmitter made in China, mounted on the hotshoe of 5DII

5. A no-name flash triggering wireless receiver (paired with 4 above)

6. Yongnuo MC36b wired timer remote controller, which functions like Canon TC80N3

7. A regular ruler tied to a pole, for setting the focus

8. A squeegee, for wiping off the bubbles on the walls of the fish tank

Now, set everything at manual mode; the two flashes, the lens and the camera. The two flashes should be set at 1/32 – 1/64 of full power. Lens focus should be manually set with the help of the submerged ruler which is placed at where the splash is going to occur. The camera’s setting can be set at f9-16, iso100, 1/100s. The shutter speed is actually irrelevant; it is the flash that is going to freeze the splash. The ambient light should be kept at dim, so that without flash the camera at the above setting can only come up with a dark image.

Note that the master light source is placed almost right above the splash location, while the slave light is at an angle from front below. At “S” mode, the Yongnuo slave automatically syncs with the Canon master.

As everything is ready, with one hand on the remote controller’s shutter control, the other holding a thing, something bright and beautiful like a strawberry or apple, that’s going to be dropped into the fish tank, your success depends on the timing of your press of the controller and your dropping of the thing. You may have to try several times to get one right. Remember to wipe clean the glass wall of the fish tank between tries.

Here are a couple of pictures I made:



The pictures will not be so bright right off the camera. You will need to do some post processing in PS or whatever program that’s up to the task. Basically, the task is to select  the thing that creates the splash and the best part of the splash, reserve the selection, then use an adjustment layer to brighten up the selection to the point that it becomes pure white.

That’s it. Play it, when you have nothing better to do at home.


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