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Double collision


Material needed:
Background of crumpled beige paper
Blue container
Metal necklace to compose the scene
Double or triple electronic dripper (2 drippers will be used for this photo)
Camera with macro lens and tripod
Infrared sensor with 1 master flash and 2 slaves
 
Level of difficulty: 6 I put 6 only because of the difficulty of acquiring the dripper because with it, it is very easy to get collisions.
 
Step by step:
Camera on the tripod (as usual). Let's set the set with the beige bottom, upside down, and a blue container overflowing with water. The framing will be only the top of the container and a piece of the bottom. We will use the infrared sensor with its master flash and 2 more that will shoot by photocell - 2 flashes for the background and one for the water. The infrared sensor will be positioned just below the first electronic dripper so the drop passes, breaks the beam of infrared rays, falls into the water and then rises. (See the photo of the making of). Camera in manual mode, manual focus (as usual), camera at 2 or 3 second speed, f.22 (as usual) and flash at 1/64 power (as usual). Leave the iso at 100 but if the photo is dark, increase to 200, then 400, then 800, until the exposure is good.
Focus beforehand exactly where the drop will drop. Use the center of the container as a guide. I used a pencil to focus. Turn the sensor on and test with your finger. Here comes the electronic dripper. Instead of dripping manually as in other sessions, we will use an electronic dripper.
I'm using my triple drip, but I left the third off so we'll have only 2 collisions. Electronic drip adjustments are made in software installed on a computer. The specifications are as follows:
First dripper: a first drop of size 10 and after 80 milliseconds, a second drop size 10.
Second dripper: a first drop of size 30 and after 80 milliseconds, a second drop size 30.
In both we will put water. The difference in droplet size is so that we have collisions of different shapes. As we are using an electronic device, the chance of the collision happening is almost 100%. Still, you need to see if the flashes are firing at the time of the collision
Take a test. Turn the lights off, trigger the camera, start the software so the dripper drops the drops and wait for the camera to close. See the result. If you are picking up the crown, increase the sensor delay until you find the moment of collision. The longer your stand is, the longer the drop takes to fall into the water, and therefore more delay time is required. It takes a minimum height of about 50 centimeters for the dripper to work properly.
 
Tips:
Start with only one dripper connected and a single drop and find the settings. When you are capturing the rebound of the first drop, add the second drop. Only then add the second dripper and, if you wish, the third dripper.

Problems solution:
The flashes are not firing: check that the potentiometers are not bumpy at the ends, see if the environment is dark enough that your finger or drop is able to cut out the beam of infrared rays, check the flash batteries and of course if the Is switched on. It may also be that the two infrared ray sensors are not aligned and therefore the light beam is not being transmitted.
The focus on the drop is not clear: refocus as many times as necessary and experiment with a variety of things like clothes fasteners, ruler, pencil, and even adapt to one of them. Focus accuracy should be surgical, and every time you tinker with the camera, focus again. The smaller the diaphragm aperture, the more depth of field you will have. Try to keep on f.22.
In the photo the water is stopped, no movement of drops: your delay must be too small or too large because, either the drop has not yet fallen or it has already fallen, has already gone up and already disappeared in the pot of water. Test the variations in the delay potentiometer until "find" the drop in the frame. Less delay = crown. More delay = water pillar with drop on the top.
The picture is too light or too dark: as we can not touch the power of the flashes or aperture of the diaphragm, we have left the iso (if the photo is dark, increase the iso and if it is light, decrease) or change the position of the flashes (If the picture is dark, approach the flashes and if it is light, zoom out).
If the movement is not clear or have ghosts: your flashes may be at high power and therefore producing a slow light. Put your flashes in 1/64 power to have a weak light, but fast, around 1 / 30,000 seconds. The flash at 1/1 power usually produces a 1 / 1,000 second light that is too slow to freeze drops. There may also be interference from ambient light. Turn off the lights.
I am not capturing the collision: the settings in the software may not be correct. We start with a standard configuration indicated by the manufacturer: size 20 drops with a time interval between the first and second of 80 milliseconds. But that depends on the height of the dripper, the liquid you are using, and a few other variables. You'll have to find the setting for your collision. Once you find the numbers, you can vary droplet size, range, and amount of drops by searching for new shapes.
The second drop does not fall on the rebound of the first one: the dripper is not straight. Arrange and fasten well with tape so it does not move.
 
About the infrared sensor: It is a homemade device that allows the flashes to be fired at the exact moment the drop is in the frame. The biggest difficulty of splash photos is tapping the photo at the right time. Everything happens in a tiny fraction of a second that the human eye does not notice. With the use of the device, the water drop itself is the trigger of the flashes and they are the ones that freeze the movement. The technique is done in a dark environment so that we can leave the camera open for a few seconds without the ambient light interfering with the photograph. The camera should only capture light from flashes which should last only around 1 / 30,000 of a second.

About the electronic dripper: It is an electronic device manufactured by some foreign companies made exactly for photographing splashes. Mine is of the brand Cognisys.Inc and works perfectly well. It comes with its own infrared sensor, but I adapted better to my sensor and use the dripper just to drip. Nothing stays connected to the camera, so everything is done in a dark environment.


Making of



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andrea@andrealaybauer.com