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Reflections in a Drop

Updated on June 25, 2014
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CC BY-ND 2.0 | Source
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) | Source

I have never seemed to get tired of new discoveries that deal with photography.

One such discovery which has continued to amaze me to this day, is the wonderful images that result when photographing up close a drop of water, especially when it happens to catch the reflection of a subject positioned directly behind it.

They are often vivid miniature recreations of the subject or scene and they look amazingly clear and sharp in the resulting photograph.

I have also been particularly interested in how the technique is done and how relatively easy this is recreated time after time and how easily this can be done in a studio setting.

It is also very much an enjoyable endeavour to set up and just admire the effects even before the first shot is taken.

There are basically three steps to do in order to create such wonderful scenes and not much work other than to sit back and admire your handy work.

First you need a fast flash unit or strobe capable of firing consecutive bursts in sequence and in rapid form. You will also need a tripod unto which to set your photographic gear. You need a macro capable lens and a fast camera.

The distance between your drop of water and the backdrop has to be relatively close if you want the reflected image on the drop to be as sharp and as full of details as possible.

The need for speed in both your flash unit and your camera is two fold; the flash in order to freeze the action and the fast camera/lens combination to record several images as the action of the drop of water falling unfolds.

Another key point if you are going to do this in a studio is to set whatever image you want to be reflected in the drop directly behind the location where the drop will momentarily be suspended and this image background must be positioned upside down so that the reflection appears right side up. This is mostly known as refraction; the effect is the same as if you look at yourself on a mirror facing you and see this reflection but turned the other way if you also have another mirror in back of you.

"Refraction is the bending of a wave when it enters a medium where it's speed is different. The refraction of light when it passes from a fast medium to a slow medium bends the light ray toward the normal to the boundary between the two media. The amount of bending depends on the "indices of refraction" of the two media and is described quantitatively by Snell's Law"

You can also just digitally rotate the final image if you find this easier to do. You must also ensure that the macro lens that you will be using allows you to trow this backdrop out of focus, sorts of a blurry effect.

These images are really very good samples to submit to many photographic stock houses, greeting card publishers, poster publications, general photographic publications, for book publishing purposes and for many other commercial purposes.

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Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0) | Source

Practice with many backdrops and bear in mind that almost anything is suitable so long as it is of a rich color.

Subtle palettes can work but then the texture and any interesting details play a much more important role.

Posters featuring one main single image work very well and so do real photographs.

But remember that they must be large enough to reflect properly on the drop.

The best subject backdrops are found in nature on the leaves of grass or tree leaves and most any surface where there is an incline that directs a concentration of moisture towards it.

These conditions are at their best during the early morning hours while the night's dew has not succumbed to the rays of the Sun.

Plus this light is usually very favorable to photography because the ambient light is still being diffused by the atmospheric conditions.

This light condition is the preferred one for most professional photographers since there is little chance of stark and harsh shadows being created and colors appear more natural and rich.

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CC BY 2.0) | Source

Do you think that this project is easy and a good way to sharpen your skills?

See results

© 2012 Luis E Gonzalez


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    • cammyshawn profile image

      cammyshawn 5 years ago

      So cool!

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 5 years ago from Miami, Florida

      snowdrops,Hot Rod Loves You: Thank you both

    • Hot Rod Loves You profile image

      R. Fritz 5 years ago from Houston, TX.

      Very interesting and really cool artwork.

    • snowdrops profile image

      snowdrops 5 years ago from The Second Star to the Right

      Wow!!! I love it!! especially the violet flowers. Ohhh this is soo beautiful!