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Macro water drop photography

Click for full size imageSince posting some "water drop" macro photos in the Samples Gallery, I've had a few of our members ask how it was done.

So, here's the setup (click on the photo to view at full size). The shots were taken with a 70-200mm lens on a Nikon D2x. A Canon 500D close-up filter on the lens allowed me to work at a "safe" distance (about 10 inches) while still getting in close.

Three strobes were used to light the water surface and freeze the droplets ... one on camera (master), one at top left to highlight the drops, and one below the water glass equipped with gels to add the color.

The tricky part was timing each shot to capture droplets just as they hit the water surface. I improvised with a tripod-mounted turkey baster to get a slow stream of drops (about 1 per second) and triggered the shutter with a remote release. Even with careful timing only about 1 in 5 shots captured the drops.

Visit my Water Drop gallery to see some of the water drop macros.

If you'd like to learn more about the technique, feel free to post your questions or comments in our forum.

Digital Darkroom Nirvana

Click for full size imageYears ago, back in the "ancient" film days, I had a darkroom outfitted with blackout windows, a dichroic (color) enlarger, a huge sink for rinsing prints, and lots of very smelly chemicals.

Well, times have changed. Now that same room is no longer in darkness and all the chemical fumes have finally dissipated. In their place is the faint hum of hard drives and the glow of flat panel displays.

I've just recently upgraded the system, added more hard drive space, and can gaze into 525 square inches of flat panel color instead of peering at a faint projected image in near darkness. It's digital darkroom nirvana!

For the techies reading this, here's a brief rundown of the setup:

HP Tower PC with Intel Quad Core CPU and 4GB DDR2 memory, (3) SATA hard drives (RAID0, 1.5 Terabytes), Dual Samsung SyncMaster LCD displays (27" and 19", landscape + portrait), plus two HP servers on a LAN with another Terabyte of drive space.

Sure beats that old darkroom...

Your earliest photo?

Set your time machine back to the tumultuous late 60's (yes, I'm dating myself). I was just entering high school and had saved enough money doing odd jobs around the neighborhood to afford my very first SLR, a Mamiya-Sekor 1000DTL.

The camera with a 50mm lens cost around $300 back then, and it was a big step up from the Kodak box camera I played with as a kid. Though not quite a Nikon, the Mamiya Sekor was nevertheless state-of-the-art at the time, with dual metering (spot and average), self-timer, and other advanced features.

I shot exclusively B&W film back then (usually Plus-X and Tri-X), developed the negatives myself, then printed with an ancient Beseler enlarger. To save money, I bought 100 ft. rolls of film and rolled my own cartridges (called bulk-film loading), getting several hundred shots for just a few bucks.

While not actually my first 35mm photo, here's a very early shot scanned from an over 35 year-old negative I found in a file box. I remember printing this at 8x10 and enjoying the "prickly" look of the cactus.

Hey fellow PixArtWeb members, why not share some of your earliest photos and give us a little history?

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