A PHOTOGRAPHERS JOURNEY-Splash Photography-Update 1

Photo 2000 of Splash Test

2021 is the year that I got out of my photography comfort zone and started to try forms of photography that are not very common, but very interesting and challenging.  Splash photography is one of the most challenging and the one that I decided to start with.  So far in the past 6 weeks I have taken about 2000 pictures and I probably have 4-5 decent pictures.  To say that this is testing both my patience and skill is an understatement.

 GEAR:

 In the old day if you wanted to do splash photography, you would take a zip lock bag with water, cut a small hole at the tip.  You then would try and time the moment when the drop it the water to fire you camera/flash.  Will in 2021 there are devices that will create the drop on demand and then after a delay fire your camera or flash.  I am using a Miops Splash unit, with a Miops Flash adapter to trigger my Godox flashes. Now my experience with the Miops Splash has not been the best.  The unit is designed to trigger either your camera or flash.  My first unit would trigger a flash, but not the camera.  Now Customer Service was fantastic, but the bottom line was that they shipped me another unit.  This unit works correctly, but does leak a little.  No big deal, just a little disappointing. Miops provides an Android app that, through Bluetooth, connects to the splash unit.  This software allows you set the time of the drops (in msec), and the delay before the camera/flash is fired.  It also allows you to create up to 4 drops to create collisions.  So far I have only been able to get just 1 picture of 2 drops.

 I am using my Canon 5dMarkIII mounted on a Platypod Max.  I have a Tamron 90mm/f2.8  Macro lens, right now set to 1:1. My flashes are a Godox X2t controller and 2-TT600 flashes.  I have a Surface Pro 7 with Lightroom installed so I can tether the camera and see the results in real time and am using a Canon remote trigger to trigger the camera. (When I have the Miops trigger the flash) 

SETUP:

As you can see from the picture below, I have this set up in office for now.  The surface the camera is mounted on is made of caulk so that I can use the adjustment legs on the Platypod to adjust both level, height and keep the Platypod from moving   I have a dish to catch the overflow from the bowl.  I started with just plain backgrounds, but when I posted my first picture for review on Kelbyone community, the suggestions were that the background should be more interesting than just a plain color. I also have a notebook to record my setting and the associated pictures that come close to capturing what I want.

Splash Photography Setup

When I am in Camera trigger mode, I have the controller mounted on the camera.  The camera closest to you is my main flash.  The one in the back is, I guess you would call it a fill flash. 

The water solution in the bowl is made up of tap water and Xanthan Gum.  This give the water a higher viscosity and is supposed to produce higher splash drops.  So far in the splash unit I have only been using plain water as I am not sure using the Xanthan Gum mixture will clog the nozzle. 

SETTINGS:

When discussing any picture, one of the first questions a fellow photographer will ask is “What are the camera settings?” Well let me tell you. The camera is the easiest part of this whole process.  They are pretty standard.  My f-stop is set to between f/8 and f/16.  My shutter speed in all cases is 1/125 and my ISO is 100, though I have been experimenting with higher shutter speed.  My main flash is set to 1/32 to 1/64 and the fill flash is set to 1/128.  Both flashes are set to rear curation sync. This is the easy part J 

Now for the splash unit. This is where you need the patience of Job to get a decent drop. While the splash unit can produce up to 4 drops, I have been just trying to get one drop that can produce a high enough splash that you can see the separation from the water surface to the top of the drop.  What I have learned so far is that having the splash trigger the Camera is not the way to go. Why you may ask, well it all has to do with the flow of electricity and the built in delay in my camera for shutter speed (OK, no mirrorless comments, I have tried it with mirror lock up and found that there is still a delay in the camera). The software allows you to set the shutter delay and the duration of the pulse.  I have reached the point where the pulse length is set to max and the shutter delay is set to 0.  With the delay  from the time the first drop is released to the trigger set to 0, I am still getting less than 1% of photo that show the end of the splash.  How do I know, I have taken slow speed videos of the operation and can see that the camera fires too late. So I have switched to having the Splash fire the flash. 

So this is as far as I have gone with the Camera Triggering.  I received the Flash Adapter and just started testing the setup. When in flash mode, I mount the controller to the Miops Flash adapter. The Camera is then set to Manual mode and I trigger it with the remote trigger with a shutter speed of 1 sec. 

Over the next few weeks I will continue my testing.  As I make progress I will be posting pictures on my Instagram account, bella_mondo_images as well as posting updates in my Blog.  If you have any experience with this process, please feel free to post a comment.