Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Splash Art Photography with a Fujifilm GFX 50s Part 2

f/11 2-seconds ISO 400
Singh Ray Color Intensifier Filter
Dual flash
 

I recently shared information on capturing water drops and want to expand on it.
Here is the equipment I’ve used so far. The camera is a Fujifilm GFX 50s medium format with cropped sensor. The lens is the Fujifilm GF120 macro which by itself is about 50% less than a true 100% macro. I’m using the new MCXX 45G WR extension tube which when combined to the GF120 allows me 100% macro. Using the extension tube also allows me a much closer focus distance by a factor of one-half. I’ve experminated using various f/stops and seem to like f/11 the most for the shallow depth of field.  I began using ISO 100 when I used a single flash and changed that to ISO 400 after adding a second flash.
f/11 2-seconds
Singh Ray Color Intensifier Filter
ISO 400 Dual Flash
 
Flash – I now use 2-separate flashes with the primary flash set at 290ms and the 2nd at 300 to 400ms. I’ve found the position of the flashes are just as important as the flash settings. Too close and you get burnout; too far, darkness and shadows. I’ve found it normally takes a couple minutes for the water to settle down and I’ve taken a couple images moving the flashes around before I settle into place.
 
f/11 2-seconds
ISO 400 Dual Flash

Timing is everything
 
I use a very dark room to capture the images with the shutter set on bulb mode. The water drop is triggered by pushing a button on the StopShot console only after I open the shutter. Stopshot controls the water drop and  triggers the flashes. Once the flash has activated I close the shutter. The entire time the shutter is open is between 2 and 3-seconds with the time dependent on how fast I release the button on the remote shutter release.  The camera captures the image during the instant the flashes fire.
Focus is done manually. I fire a drop into a container to see where it lands. Using that as a point of reference I then hold a pencil in the water to set the focus.
f/11 6-seconds
Dual Flash ISO 400
 
f/11 4-seconds
Dual Flash ISO 400
 
f/11 3-seconds
Dual Flash ISO 400
Custom White Balance
 

Water – I try to add some strength to the water and will generally mix a batch of Xanthan Gum to 2-cups of warm water letting it sit overnight. I’ve found that the gum thickens the water giving it a plastic look.  I also use food coloring in both the drop tube as well as the container it drops into.  Go crazy with the coloring.
f/11 2-seconds
Dual Flash ISO 400
 
f/11 3-seconds
Dual Flash ISO 400
 

I’ve now experimented using a bowl, plate, burner cover and paint roller tray. Each container has their good points however I find I like using the paint tray the most (make certain you get a black one).
Water drops are very much like snowflakes as no two are alike. They will be similar however they’ll surprise you when you least expect it.  The makeup of the water is key; do you have hard or soft water as each presents their own issues. Heat of the water and ambient temperature add into the mix. I’ve shot 3-days in a row using different water mixtures and each day it was slightly different to where I needed to change the timing of the flashes.  I’ve found my main flash stays in the neighborhood of 290 to 291.5ms while the secondary flash is anywhere from 300 to a high of 900ms. If I hadn’t shared this before I’ll do it now. Patience is the key here. It took me several hours that first day before I captured my first collision. Patience will remain being the key as each day brings its own issues.  Each mixture will be off just enough to make you stumble. Okay – enough said on Patience…
f/16 2-seconds
Dual Flash ISO 400
 
f/22 2-seconds
Dual Flash ISO 400
 
Capture format – JPEG or RAW.  I always capture in RAW format as that will give me the most information available. Yes, RAW files are larger than JPEG and can take slightly slower to capture if you are in continuous (burst) mode, however I’m not. Besides, RAW files are larger for a reason; the information they contain, so use it.  I’ll normally take close to 200 files at a sitting and use less than 10%.  I’ve found that you get into a visual overload where all the images look good and you have a difficult time picking the best of the best..
 
You don’t need medium format camera to do this and actually from what I’ve been able to learn I might be the only one if not a rare few who do. The normal camera system is 35mm. The one thing you’ll need is a macro lens. If you are like me and have one that isn’t a true maco then you’ll also need an extension tube. An extension tube will allow you to set the camera up and focus much closer. A remote shutter release is also a must as it keeps you fingers off the camera. And of course, a sturdy tripod for your camera.

Visit the Cognisy website for much more information on the water drop kit as well as other tools available.
I’ve got much more planned so please stay tuned for another update.
Over Ice
f/11 2-seconds
Dual Flash ISO 400
 
 
Don
 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 

 
 

 

 
 

 


Friday, July 20, 2018

Splash Art Photography with a Fujifilm GFX50s

f/4 ISO 100 (cropped from top and bottom)
 
I’ve been interested in splash art for some time experimenting at capturing water drops as they fall.  I recently found a company that produces a water drop kit that will help me capture water drops as they hit the surface.  Cognisys offers an array of water drop kits that allow you to capture 1 or more drops.  I’d suggest a visit to their website to learn more about what they offer.
 
f/4 ISO 100 (full frame)
 
Capturing water drops is all about timing. And luck. Lots of luck. It helps if you have a steady supply of water dispensing drops at a regular interval. It also helps if you have at least one flash as it will be the flash that freezes the action not the camera.
f/11 ISO 100 (full frame)
 
There are videos on YouTube available to help you begin capturing water drops just do as I did and use a search phrase of “water drop photography”.  What I’ve learned during my research is the majority of photographers are using 35mm cameras.  A must is a macro lens as is a tripod and of course a flash.  I happen to use a Fujifilm GFX 50s medium format camera. There are differences between using 35mm and medium format among them is shutter lag; the delay between triggering the shutter and when the image is actually recorded.  Each camera system has a different shutter lag with a 35mm normally faster than medium  format.
f/11 ISO 100 (full frame)
While water drop photography can be captured in normal light using a high shutter speed and flash the shutter lag can become a problem.  The best way to work around this is going dark. I’ve gone back to a dark room much the same as when I worked in a wet dark room. Believe me I’ve laughed at the irony of using what has become a wet darkroom to capture digital images.  Working in a dark room allows me to set the camera in bulb mode before triggering the water drop. The drop falls causing the flash to light and shortly afterwards I close the shutter. The camera only captures at the instant the flash works so allowing for any delay on my part the shutter is open between 1 and 2-seconds.
f/11 ISO 100 (full frame)
 
Here is the first attempted setup using our kitchen; notice the black paper covering the windows.
 

I used a spare tripod to set the water drop kit on over the counter and while it worked it also took up a lot of space.  I have a copy stand on order which is a much small footprint and will allow the height I need.  I’m also moving from the kitchen to a smaller windowless room that will allow me to photograph in the daytime in complete darkness. The next blog will be from that setup.  I’ll be sharing a complete list of equipment used in the next blog as well.

Splash Art is much more involved and I plan on adding to this as I learn so please stay tuned.
 
 
Don

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Good news

Our web gallery is back on line and fully functional. We had to rewrite the entire site so this will look totally different: in a good way.  We also revamped the buying experience which should be easier. Come visit www.Ironcreekphotography.com kick the tires and give us a try.