Seeing Drops – Water Drop Refraction Photography

Seeing Drops – Water Drop Refraction Photography

Water drop Photography

I recently spend a few hours exploring photographing water drop refractions with a small group of photographers. And the results were quite beautiful and relatively easy to come by.

Your DSLR of mirrorless camera and a macro lens mounted on a tripod is the basic equipment you need. Lighting is minimal. A small LED light or even available light will do the trick. I’ve used my cell phone’s flashlight. Since your camera is on a tripod exposures can be quite long. Of course, your off-camera flash can be quite useful as well.

Water drop Photography

The setup 

Water drops are essentially spherical and act as a lens that is focused on whatever is behind it. So a colorful, interesting background image such as a flower or even an image on your computer screen will work. Use your imagination and get creative. Next you’ll need something for the water drops to rest on. A blade of grass or a twig for example. Set this up in front of the background using paper clips, clothespins, small clamps, etc. There will be some trial and error getting everything set up and spaced proper. The background should be far enough behind the drops so it will be completely out of focus. Next bring your camera as close as possible to the drops and still be able to focus on them. The drops will in turn be a perfectly focused refraction of the background. The hardest part is getting the drops to be full and spherical enough – and to stay put. I’ve heard that adding a little glycerin to the water helps with the drop formation.

Water drop Photography

Water drop refraction photography can be quite rewarding. There will be some trial and error getting your set up working well but the results will be surprisingly beautiful. A great way to exercise your creativity.

Ron Mayhew

Fine Art Photographer specializing in Still Life and Commercial Photography.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. interesting…the consistency within the water drops as well as the sense of distance between the drops (foreground) and the blurred flag (background).

    1. In this case I’m focusing on a flat field – the drops are on a piece of glass – so each drop is equally in focus. And of course, because of the shallow depth of field of a macro lens the flag is out of focus giving a nice soft background. Thanks, Brenda.

      1. Thanks Ron, very interesting concept. I have a few how can I share?

    1. It’s quite fun and not very difficult. Requires a little trial and error though. Thanks, Cosmic Traveller7.

  2. Bravo. Remarkable. Very cleaver

    1. Thanks, Robert. I want to experiment a little more with the concept.

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