Shooting Water Drops......With a Gun

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Fishbait, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. Fishbait


    Oct 20, 2009
    New York
    If you've been following Wayne F's excellent thread on water drops, valves, and techniques, you may be interested in the project I mentioned there.

    Water drop photography, when done well, deals with an event that happens in thousandths of a second. An error of 3/1000 of a second can mean a missed shot. If you've ever tried it you know what I mean.

    Likewise, other hi-speed photographs, like bursting water balloons shot with a gun, are events that are difficult to capture precisely.

    My project was to take the essence of water drop photography and combine it with high speed ballistics and attempt to shoot a water drop with a gun.

    The timing required to work this out was, to say the least, a bit involved. I won't go into details now, many of which are on the water drop thread, I'll just let the images do the talking:

    8 drops - 8 shots








    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 26, 2010
  2. vindex1963


    Feb 27, 2009
    That's amazing to say the least!!!!
  3. Fantastic Fish, i concede defeat and my donation to the Cafe is on it's way.
  4. Done

    Donation to Support (User: axle01) $50 USD
  5. Great stuff ! I like no.4 the most , even if you can't see exactly what it is .
    Hmmm , how about shooting something combustible !
    Today I bought some methylated spirits because I was told it makes a pellet turn into a tracer at night ...... trail of flames leading up to the impact perhaps ?
  6. Fishbait


    Oct 20, 2009
    New York
    Thanks Ax. You are a man of your word!

    Now let's see some of your pictures from that great iron drop machine you built.
  7. Bravo my friend, Bravo!
  8. Fishbait


    Oct 20, 2009
    New York
    Axle is the guy to see about that. He built some sort of wicked flame-thrower pellet firing weapon of mass destruction to blow up water balloons. :tongue:
  9. Fishbait


    Oct 20, 2009
    New York
    Thanks! I will be posting images of much better quality next week. I need a second SB900 to stop the pellet at 1/128 flash power. The pellet speed and water burst are just too fast for anything less.

    Stop back and have a look.
  10. Fishbait


    Oct 20, 2009
    New York
    The pellets in these photos are a bit blurred due to the speed. The SB900"s 1/128 power is still not fast enough to freeze the pellet. I'm looking for a faster flash to improve the images.

    Here's one with the pellet inside the water column on it's way through. This was the first successful shot I had and didn't notice it until I downloaded the images.

    The quality is pretty rough but I was more concerned about the timing of the drop, gun firing, and flash.

  11. jayvee10


    Nov 3, 2009
    Torrance, CA
    wooohh. Great shots
  12. cbbr


    Nov 21, 2009
    Baton Rouge, La.
  13. Simply amazing shots, congrats!!!

    But ... high-speed ballistics with an airgun pellet?!?! :biggrin: :smile:
  14. Fishbait


    Oct 20, 2009
    New York
    Yeah. I use special high-speed air!:biggrin:

    You have a point. Properly it should be described as high-speed photography of low-speed ballistics.
  15. Just joking my friend, just joking.

    These are amazing shots, no matter what gun you used.
  16. Fishbait


    Oct 20, 2009
    New York

    The most difficult part was mounting the gun and zeroing it on such a tiny target. I used dye in skim milk for the drops to get the tip of the column that purple color which is the target.

    For these shots, the gun was clamped in a heavy vise which is rather awkward to move in small increments for targeting. I'm getting a machinists vice mounted on a rail that is adjutable on the x-y axis. The rail will be then mounted on a screw jack. This set up will allow micro targeting adjustments for up-down, forward-back, and left-right.

    With the new mounting vice, I will be able to place the pellet at any point with precise accuracy. For the current shots, I'm tapping the vice mount with a hammer and using shims for targeting adjustments. Rather crude but it works.
  17. Fishbait


    Oct 20, 2009
    New York
    First test shots



  18. I would of made use of that macro rail you are selling.
  19. Yes, you are amazing. Not just because the pellet hit the water drop but because you photographed it while you were doing it. Yikes, what talent.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2012
  20. Fishbait


    Oct 20, 2009
    New York
    Thanks for the kind comment:smile:

    There will be more and better photos in a day or two. A second SB900 arrives tomorrow. The second hi-speed flash will greatly improve the quality of the images.
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