View Full Version : Good or Bad

12-10-2008, 08:29 PM
Hi All,

I got such good feedback on the last photo, I thought I'd try it again.

Presented this image at my local camera club, and got really polarized reviews. Some liked it, others were polite.

- Macro lens
- 1 second exposure, manually triggering the flash while the shutter is open
- 100 mm focal length
- f 6.3
- ISO 100

What do I do to the image to make this image more universally appealing.



12-10-2008, 10:20 PM
IMO it is really neat!

Dwayne Oakes
12-10-2008, 11:03 PM
I think this photo is cool ! Because photography is so subjective and not
everyone is going to admire our work I would leave the photo the way it is,
as long as it appeals to you.

Take care,

Dwayne Oakes

12-10-2008, 11:04 PM
Hi Sean

I like it too. It may just be the low res for the web but it looks like the focus is a little off. I know focusing on water drops is very difficult.



12-11-2008, 11:30 AM
I like this shot too!

To make it even better I might consider cropping out all the black on the left and the right. It's just black...and is making the image too centered IMO.
Cropping the black will also make the shot more abstract and IMO more interesting.
Hope that helps

Ben H
12-11-2008, 11:32 AM
Yeah, I like stuff like this too, and have indeed shot something very similar (in my case, a garden pond fountain).

I like getting in really close to these and usually take lots of framing options - the more abstract the better. IN the case of the pond fountain, I actually rotated it 90 degrees to take the water drops out of the usual context, and it worked quite well. The water just flying off to the right, with no gravity...

12-11-2008, 12:17 PM
I have tried to take water dropplet shots for EVER it seems :).... can never get it right. Great job! You say you manually triggered the flash, where was the flash positioned? On or off camera?

12-12-2008, 04:51 PM
The flash was off camera. I held it in my hand. I held it about 45 degrees on the left of the shot.

Here's what I did.

Basically I sat in my completely dark laundry room with the tap running. Set the camera to 1 second and pressed the shutter button. Then I triggered the flash. After you do it a few times, the timing gets easy. (Isn't photography glamorous?)

I also took shots of single drops. Same process, in a darkened room, I ran the water very slowly - one drip at a time into a coloured bowl. If you are quiet, you can hear the drips, and time your flash exposure so that you fire it just after the drop hits the water. A digital camera is a must here as you will have to take lots of shots until you get lucky and the timing is just right.

Another tip, is you have to focus your lens manually, it is quite hard to see the water drops clearly, so it is useful to have a comb, or something with clear and fine markings. Turn on the room lights place the comb in the water stream, and focus the camera.

Lastly, the macro lens will have a very shallow depth of field. The attached shot is a photo of the output of a sprayer, as the water comes out of the nozzle in a circle about 2" in diameter, it was impossible to have all of the drops in sharp focus. I tried to focus just behind the front drops. As I decreased the aperture, the depth of field increases only slightly, and the shot became quite dark. I had to goof around with lots and lots of shots to get one which was bright enough, but still somewhat in focus. I found it useful to set everything up, take 10 or so pictures, and then load them into my computer. View the photos, and then go back to the setup and make some camera adjustments and take another bunch of photos.

To fix this problem, I'd like to someday build some kind of "waterfall sprayer" where the water sprays out on a flat plane. The only problem is I don't yet have the inspiration to figure out how to build it.

I really like the way that the water immediately comes out of the tap in a long connnected blob, and then later turns into individual drops. In order to get that effect, the water has to be flowing strongly enough. When I took this shot - to my naked eye, it looks like the tap is outputting continuous streams of water.

Hope this helps.


12-12-2008, 05:06 PM
LOVE it! the only thing i would change is the cropping - if you divided the shot into 3rds, youve centred the flow of water. i wouldve stuck it on one side, leaving the middle and other 3rd solid black. i can see a black crop line on the left hand side of the water also - you may try to smudge or blur it together a bit....very fun shot though! grreat creativity! :)

12-12-2008, 07:41 PM

I enjoyed the image, but I felt the need to comment on the 'universally appealing' question. For an image to be truly striking, it would seem to me that it should draw a reaction from people. Sometimes that reaction will be positive, other times negative. I think you need to temper the negative reactions with what you are trying to accomplish. If everyone is negative, that would likely be a cause for concern. If you are getting positive feedback from people whose work you admire, then I would suggest that you are on the right path. My concern for making a universally appealing image, is that it is just another way of making a boring image. This is just my read on it, take it for what it is worth.


12-13-2008, 02:18 AM
Just turn it 180 degrees, looks very interesting...

12-13-2008, 03:28 PM
Hi Sean

I've seen garden hose nozzles that have the flat fan or rectangular shape you're looking for. Great idea shooting with a flash. I've tried using every portable light in the house piled up on the kitchen counter and it's still not light enough.


12-14-2008, 01:30 PM
i like it. my only suggestion would be to try taking a vertical shot instead next time. i think a lot of the frame is lost in negative space which is probably why some people didn't like it. fill the frame with the droplets and see how it looks. you never know

12-17-2008, 12:43 PM
Thanks again for all of the comments.

(1) Yes, a flat spraying hose. I'll have to find a way to make that work. Its winter here, so the hose is indoors, so I'll put that on the list for the springtime. The only challenge is that the picture should be taken in the dark so that the flash will freeze the image (I'll try taking the shot at night).

(2) I rotated the image, and it does look cool - even upside down.

(3) Funny, the picture was actually cropped tight to the water drops. I submitted the image to my camera club, and they have this strange regulation where the pictures must be 1024x768. You crop the photo to your preferred size, and then have to add a black canvas to fill out the full 1024x768. I started by defying the rules, and adding a white/grey canvas, tried a little drop shadow, or frame around the image, but found that I liked how the image looked surrounded by black. It never occurred to me to actually blend the black to the photo, and move the water drops to a 2/3 position. I'll try that as well.