Ocean Water in a Glass


Greetings gang,

I took a page from a youtube tutorial on Splash Photography for this week’s theme on “Water“.  I figured by Jay’s Facebook link share this week he was going to have a go with photographing water drops so I thought I would try something different.

I was researching how to do these type of techniques, many call for an flash trigger of some sort (i.e. audio, laser, sound) which I don’t have, but then I came across this fairly primitive technique.  At first, I had doubts that it would really work out, compounded by the DIY setup I had rigged up with regular household stuff (the only thing I bought was some vellum film and some food colouring).  You will probably get a good laugh when you see the setup below, LOL.  I took about 5 tries at this (each time having to empty the water, clean out the glass, wipe up spilled water, reset the composure and focus).  With the shutter cranked to 1/1000 sec, I basically using the rapid fire on my camera, triggered by a wired remote while pouring the water from above.  Light source was from a 100W incandescent bulb behind vellum film.

I shot in RAW and did some tweaks in Lightroom to bring some punch and to correct the yellowish incandescent bulb light source to a cooler tone.  Looking back, I supposed I should have checked and corrected white balance via in-camera, which may have given better results.  The one thing I don’t like about this technique is that the  high ISO adds a lot of grain (which I corrected for in the Lightroom) but overall, I was pretty impressed with the results and would definitely recommend trying this for yourself.

Here’s the first try using just plain water.  Which one do you like better?


Here’s the set-up shot, using very primitive DIY equipement:

Lighting: 1) used electrical tape to attach a spatula to a reading light (on a floor lamp), 2) attach the wine glass to the spatula with same tape, 3) attach vellum film with paper clips to a wire frame from an Ikea lamp and attach it to the floor lamp, add light source behind vellum film via another floor lamp (100 W incandescent light bulb in this case).

Props: measuring cup, wine glass, bucket, cardboard tray, food colour.

Equipment: Canon 60D, Canon 28mm f1.8 lens, wired trigger.

EXIF: 28mm @ 1/1000 sec, f4.5, ISO2000.

  • Jason

    Man! Great work!! I switched mine last second and took the same route as you…lol. Yours definitely turned out better then mine!

    Great job having the main focus on the water as it is coming out of the glass!

    I definitely prefer the first shot with the blue water. Great job!

  • Vinh

    Thanks Jay! 

    Funny how you switched ideas, great minds think alike! :-)  

    For the focus, it was tricky as I was shooting at f4.5, so I focused on the front lip using Live View mode at 5x to get it spot on.  I found the results worked out better with the angled glass slightly forwards as the splash appears to jump out almost 3-D like. 

  • http://LearningDSLR.com Philippe Dame

    Looks amazing, even full zoomed in. It is very 3D. Great use of colour to add interest.

    My only critique is the composition. I’d prefer that the glass not touch the bottom edge of the image (i.e. more like the clear water one or even further in).

    This is something I might have to try now!

    • Vinh

      Cool.  Thanks Phil for the pixel peep analysis.  Definitely worth a try and probably a fun shot to do with kids!  :-)

      Yes, I noticed the slightly out of frame composition after taking the shots.  With my ghetto DIY setup, I had to set up again after each take, causing variations in position of the glass, focus, lighting distances, and most of all, was very limited by my backdrop size as it was a small sheet of 13″ x 25″ vellum paper hanging by two paper clips.  If I had to do it over, I would try to isolate as many variables as possible, the easiest being a fixed lighting setup. 

      Out of the five takes, I ultimately posted this one because the splash turned out the best but definitely agree it would have been better if the glass bowl was fully in frame, a simple fix if I could have shot slightly further back but my vellum film was so small it would have been cut off, LOL.  Lesson learned here is that it’s probably best to shoot wider and just crop afterwards. 

      Question: where did you get your big roll for your white backdrops, what material is it and would it be translucent enough to shine light through?

    • http://LearningDSLR.com Philippe Dame

      It’s a paper roll from Henry’s (I have a white and a black). It’s pretty thick so you’d need a lot of light to shine through it. I don’t think it would have helped you much in this situation.

  • Adam

    I hear music in my head when I look at this picture.  Like some sort of commercial selling something really refreshing!  LOL!  Great shot – I agree with Phil about the composition, but that’s a minor detail.

    Hope you don’t have blue colour splash marks in your carpet, sofa, etc… :)

  • http://www.nakedbodycare.co.uk/ Kimberley Bacon

    Based on my own opinion, I really like the idea of taking picture as if ocean water in a glass. I know that you really practiced and prepared to take this shoot. I also love to take pictures of beautiful views of my surroundings.