Howto: Water Drop Photography

I had been trying to replicate a photo I saw online recently of a bowl of jellybeans though water drops. Not having a bowl of jellybeans lying around – I cheated. I loaded a picture of jellybeans onto my iPad and used that as a backdrop. Here are a couple of shots:



The main issue I had was getting the water to form beads. This time round I applied Glaco (Similar to RainX) to a different sheet of glass. The water beaded up instantly. This time I used some candles as the backdrop instead of the jellybeans.

 To take photos like this you don’t need much. I made a basic frame using knex, and then placed a clean piece of glass over the top. It did take a while to get the glass clean enough, trust me – its worth spending alot of time getting it perfectly clean. Dust specs and watermarks show up very clearly. I recommend using newspaper to clean and polish the glass.

I used a spray bottle to make the water drops. If you want more control over the layout, try using an eyedropper.

At the bottom of my frame I set up a grid of red and yellow/white candles. I tried a few different patterns, but this looked the most appealing.

I was using macro tubes for the first few photos. After removing them I noticed that I could still focus close enough to get a good shot. So, use them if you need to but check to see if you can achieve the effect without them first.

You will also need a good tripod. I have a Manfrotto that allows you to slide the center column out sideways, making it very easy to aim the camera straight down. Getting the camera position just right is very important if you are using macro tubes. Just a centimeter or so too high/low will put your image out of focus. I used a coin to help getting the camera in focus.

Focusing with a coin.

Single drop with unlit candles.

Single drop with lit candles.

Multiple drops.

Multiple drops with additional light source.

You may also want to adjust the aperture to control the bokeh.

Shower Thoughts

I always come up with my best and most interesting ideas in the shower. Unfortunately, I never write them down. Sometimes I am lucky enough to remember them. Today, two things came up.

1. Do the companies that provide you with water sell you the actual water, or just the service? I would assume it would be the water itself, as they charge per liter. Therefore, any recycling of said water, and then charging again for it would be, in a sense – illegal. They are taking the water we paid for, cleaning it and then selling it again. We should get a cut for the water that goes down our drains – if it ends back up at the shower-head.

2. Tests in Japanese high schools are stupid. This may only apply to the school I teach at, but the way students are prepared for tests (English anyway) is ridiculous. Again, this is based upon my personal experience so your opinion may differ. What I remember about tests in ‘High School’ or ‘College’ (that’s what we call it in New Zealand) is that the teacher would tell you that: 1. There is a test and 2. Everything you have learnt in class so far may or may not be in it.

This makes sense, as the purpose of a test is to see how much you have learnt. Now compare it to the tests at my Japanese high school. First, the teacher will tell the students there is a test. Second, what particular section of related textbooks will be covered in the test. The teacher, under the assumption the students are semi-retarded may or may not provide the exact page numbers and/or actual test questions to ensure all of them pass the test.

To be fair to the teachers, the entire education system over here is messed up, so it’s not entirely their fault. They are expected to have an average class score of around 65% to keep people happy. Students in Japan aren’t allowed to fail no matter how stupid they are.

Thats enough ranting for today.

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