Splashy Studio Shoot

I have been meaning to get some Xanthan gum for ages to help thicken my water droplet shots – it makes the shapes more interesting. I’ve searched supermarket shelves within a five mile radius to no avail! Well, this morning I managed to visit the nearest Waitrose and they had some in the “Free From…” aisle (the gum can be used in cooking as a gluten substitute).

So armed with my thickening powder, I whipped up some fluid (it doesn’t dissolve very easily and after a first failed attempt at hand-mixing which went horribly lumpy, I resorted to a blender – which worked out much better). It was also my first chance to try out water splashes in my new studio setup in the spare room – leaving the kitchen uncluttered for making dinner!

Studio setup for Red and Yellow shots
Studio setup for Red and Yellow shots

As you can see, the setup is pretty straightforward – there is one YN560 with my DIY softbox and a red gel firing from behind through a sheet of translucent perspex. The second YN560 has my DIY gridded snoot to focus the light right onto the drop zone. The netbook is powering the CameraAxe (I really must get some external power sorted out for it), which controls the timings of valve sensor, camera shutter and wireless TX unit for the two flashes.

Red and Yellow Valve Shots
Red and Yellow Valve Shots

The tray contained plain water with several drops of rinse aid. The valve sensor contained my thickened fluid mix with some yellow food colouring. Initially I was getting very inconsistent results from the same drop and delay values – I realised this was due to two factors – firstly I needed a much bigger droplet size for this liquid (valve needs to open for longer) and the header pressure in the valve reservoir seemed to make a big difference – in the end, I was keeping it pretty much topped up rather than the 20-30mls I originally started with.

Even so, the results weren’t as predictable as they had been with plain water. So there were rather a lot of throwaways from the shoot. But I still managed to get some pleasing images:

Almost cloudless
Almost cloudless
Donut in the middle!
Donut in the middle!
Splashy crown
Splashy crown
Inverted umbrella
Inverted umbrella

There has been some progress but still plenty of things to work on!

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