Photographing water droplets – Freeze Action



Freezing action

This was a really fun photo that I captured after washing dishes one evening. I happen to notice the pattern of the water dropping onto a spoon and decided to set up my camera to capture the photo. The setup as well as capturing the right moment to some time but after a few exposures, I found one that lined up with what I originally pre-visiualized.

The Camera and Props

For the photo above I used:

  • A spoon
  • A dripping water faucet
  • External Flash
  • Camera
  • Tripod

I used a Tamron 70-300mm macro lens for this photo. Then, set up the camera and tripod so that it was pointing down at the subject. I also used an external flash.Camera body flash units never gave me appealing results in the past. I also used a very fast shutter speed and low ISO. The flash produced enough light so that the ISO would not need to be increased. After turning on the faucet so that it dripped a few drops every second, I started to capture the photo. I used a continuous high shutter (burst mode) so that I wouldn’t have to waste much time trying to figure out the precise moment when the water hit the spoon. Plus, freeze the action of the water.

After about 5 minutes, I produce a photo that I was pleased with and exemplified my need to freeze action. Extremely high shutter speed almost always need some source of bright light or flash in order to properly illuminate the subject. The flash not only illuminated the subject, it brought out the details of the water droplets in and around the spoon.

I chose to use the Tamron 70-300mm macro because I new that I would be dealing with splashes of water. Remaining as far away as possible so there was no water damage to my camera or lens was very important.

On final note

This was a fun experiment to try. Not only did I produce a “freeze action” photo that I have never made before, I learned some new aspects of my camera. I believe that experimenting with different shooting situations allows me to learn the limitations of my camera as well as expand my creative abilities. Most of the props and camera accessories can be purchased and used by any photographer at any level. The only other thing that is tested when experimenting with different shooting scenarios is patience. Patience is key! There have been plenty of times where I attempted to try something new and failed the first, second, all the way to the 10th time. However, every attempt I learned something new and in the end I was able to capture the photo I set out to get. Nonetheless, this was a very fun project!

It is quite possible to go in the opposite direction to freeze action. Slowing down the shutter speed and not using the flash will produce a “milky flow” effect to moving water. It all depends on personal preference.


#closeupphotography #photography #water

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6 Comments Posted

  1. I noticed myself how patient one has to be, especially when one does not use high speed multiple shots. I captured once one decent shot after 30 minutes of trying to catch water droplets dripping off an icicle. Great photo on your post today.

  2. Thanks 😊. Yes, high speed definitely makes it easier. I’ve tried a few times without that feature and could never get the shot.

  3. Thank you – you started me on a quest to capture dropping water – got some cool shots of shower head drizzling water. This was good because there are lots of jets so you capture the drops at different stages. It has been a good way to learn more about manual settings (used short exposure, medium iso, full flash and high F stop) and the synchronised flash setting on external flash. Having fun.

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