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Water drop magic!

My new passion in abstract macro photography is water drop collisions. I was introduced to this wild art form by my good friend Paul Eifert a couple of weeks ago. The first session was so much fun that I have been experimenting with various solutions, lights, backgrounds, drop sizes, and flash settings since. This new found passion is verging on obsession but I hope you will agree that the results thus far are rewarding enough to fuel my drive to keep going.


The most important finding is that in order to achieve the best results of water drop collisions, the water falling into a holding tank needs to be heavier and more viscous than the water it is falling into. The best way to achieve it is to thicken it slightly (1/2 tsp. Guar Gum per liter of water). Dissolving the guar gum in a bit of rubbing alcohol prevents lumps from forming. The water in the pan below the drip needs to be thinned with a few drops of Rinse Aid, commonly used in dishwashers to prevent water spots on glasses, to reduce the surface tension of the water.


My set up is a Camera Axe electronic system which controls the water drop sizes, 2nd drop delay, and flash delay. All of these parameters are fully customizable and dictate the end results. Without this type of electronic set up it is virtually impossible to get good water drop collisions, consistently. The size and depth of the bottom water container, as well as the distance between the drip valve and the surface of the water the drops are falling into, all determine the final collision outcome. The possibilities are endless and it's completely addictive and FUN!