Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Rose By Any Other Name...

Canon 30d
Canon EF 100mm Macro f/2.8
Shutter Speed 1/250
Aperture f/11.0
Focal Length 100mm
ISO 100
2 external Alien Bees flash heads and a softbox/tent

I really enjoyed Jay'me and Sere's last posts. I was tempted to go out and get some macro shots of flowers around me. I've done it in the past and I really enjoy looking at flowers through the lens. It's one of my favorite styles of photography. I decided however that the spirit of 3chicks1dude is to push our knowledge and comfort zone and try new things for the sake of learning. With that in mind, I decided it was time to try my hand at capturing water droplets. It's nothing new - it's practically cliche. But I've never tried it!

The story starts with me trying to capture water droplets using hot lights. For those learning, hot lights are essentially really bright lamps that are on continuously. They are called hot lights because they get freaking hot! The advantage of hot lights is that you see exactly what the light looks like before you start shooting. It can make things a lot easier. Additionally, they are relatively cheap, another big plus when you are trying to learn and not go broke.

I set-up my hot lights and threw a bunch of stuff into plates and glasses and had limited success. I couldn't get the motion to freeze. What I needed were my strobes. So I fired off a text to Brandi (she was borrowing my gear for a bit) and next thing I knew, I'm in my kitchen setting up one heck of an obstacle course. My wife was a sweetheart, knowing I can get a little laser focused when camera gear abounds! Off she went to read while I literally fired off over 300 shots! What a blast!!! You can't believe how much fun this is.

The reason you need strobes (or speedlights) is to stop the motion. The duration of a flash is so short the exposure only gets the merest fraction of a second to capture the scene. For those crying about a lack of strobes or speedlights, use your pop-up flash. It is somewhat limiting but I was able to capture several good shots with just the pop-up. Just remember to keep the ambient light as low as possible to eliminate spillover.

As for the set-up, it is a glass vase filled with water. Then I dropped a few drops of green water into the vase (I took pictures of that). I wasn't satisfied with the intensity of the green so I decided to start dropping pure food coloring into the vase. And that's when it hit me! I had just added green. If I drop some red next, I might get a "rose" with the green water being the stem and the red dye being the bloom! Imagine my excitement when it actually worked! I was going to use the water droplets from Sere's flower as my inspiration. But now I was able to use the water and the flower! I told you it was fun.

When I decided this is what I wanted to try, I warned Brandi I might go neurotic and post as late as 11:30. Alas, I may just beat that time...barely. Thanks to all reading this. I hope you're enjoying this as much as we are. Stay tuned for some fun news coming down the pipeline. We (all 4 of us) can't stop thinking of ways to play and improve this blog. Keep the comments coming and be sure to tell your friends about us! Tag Brandi, you're it!



  1. My Dear Scott,
    We simply must break up now.
    Thank you for your time.

    You warned me, I even got to see some "test" shots as a preview but I'm still not prepared.
    What to do... what to do...??????
    Anyone out there have some suggestions? Post them as a comment, I'm at a loss. Help a girl out.

  2. Oh and since all I did was whine in the last comment, I should add....
    Outstanding work once again, Scott. You're always pushing me and I love ya for it.

  3. Completely awesome! 1st, fyi, roses are my favorite flower. 2nd, that picture is just breathtaking. Simple, complicated, natural, just beautiful.
    Scott, talented isn't going to be a descriptive enough word for your photography...I'm ready for my Ry-guy n me session!

  4. Absolutely stunning! I have been wanting to play with water droplets and food coloring forever but never knew how to do it. I am so jealous of your gear!!! I got to play with off camera flashes once and LOVED it. Thank you for the tips. I'm going to have to practice now. Beautiful!

  5. WOW ! I can't stop studying this awesome shot. I see a watercolor caught on a digital canvas... The worlds fastest artist and a painting composed of other materials than it was made of. Your rose is a "Crown" jewel! You caught a fabulous reflection, little ripples and stunning dramatic colors. Even in the highlights there are interesting colors. The colors ranging from delicate and subtle greens to ranging raging deep reds are Exciting! I love how the red threatens to break through it barrier of surface tension at the bottom left of the droplet and how the green stem winds and wraps to supports the bottom of your veiny flower. SOOO COOOL !

    OH yah- Good luck Brandi with what to shoot from here. If anyone can come up something it's you... Let Katie Play with paint or something???

  6. Thanks all. I really had fun with this one. You should have seen me. I was giddy! @ Brandi, you will come up with something awesome I'm sure. And I love that you asked for some help. I'm glad I'm not the only one that wants to ask! @ Alli, thanks for your kind words. It's great to know we have a few fans out there. @ Sere, next time you're in town, you can play with my strobes to your hearts desire. They really are a lot of fun. @ Jay'me, I love your analysis. You truly see things I don't even notice. You did the same with Sere's fire and storm picture. I just love it! Here's to even more inspiration!

  7. Thanks Saskija! Had a great time taking it. Thanks for commenting.

  8. Now I have a new pic of yours to ad to my "must look at daily" list. Very cool! To everyone involved in this- Thank you, I'm so enjoying these photos. Keep it up!

  9. This pic is AMAZING! Love it! Now I am inspired to give this a try! :D Thx for entering my challenge!

  10. Thanks for your comment punkrockmom. Be warned, shooting water like this is insanely addictive! Hope to hear from you again!

  11. That is so cool! Thanks too for the answered all my questions! ;)

    Really nice post...

  12. Thank you Anika! I'm thrilled you found us.