Water, water everywhere

Outside the house it is raining heavily in-between hail, snow and sleet that is. Indoors I have a mug of black coffee and have dusted off the Splash Art kit. My chosen medium for these splashes is of course – water!

© Dave Whenham

I persist with using plain tap water even though many proponents of the art consider it the most difficult to work with. I like the clear shapes it produces and how I can manipulate the look of the image either through my choice of lighting or in post production. I have bought some thickening agent though and will experiment with using this in due course. For now I am happy learning how to use the kit and experimenting with my flash set up.

I bought a Nikon twin macro lighting kit a few years ago adding a third macro light over time. These three small flash heads are also ideal for what is essentially an indoor still-life set up. The commander unit enables me to control the power of each unit independently and will also fire a fourth flash if required. I use this fourth flash unit hand held, often with a coloured gel attached, to try to skim light across the top of the splash as in the example above. The hint of orange coming solely from a handheld flash held above the water.

I’m still at an early stage of my water drop experiments and very much still playing. The act of creating a splash can be time consuming and fiddly at times requiring lots of patience and trial and error. The four elements that I can control with this set up are the size of the first droplet, the delay before the second droplet is released, the size of the second droplet and the moment at which the camera is triggered. In addition I have total control of the lighting, camera position and backdrops etcetera.

© Dave Whenham
Electric Blue

As well as an artistic exercise this is very much a problem-solving exercise too, and I enjoy solving problems.  Solving a problem requires one to fully understand what is going on, to consider cause and effect and to consider the possible implications of changing any of the variables. I always change just one thing at a time as this helps understand cause and effect. I also try each new setting a few times just to allow for any built-in randomness in the results. Even things like lowering of the water level in the bath or reduction in the amount of water in the reservoir can over the length of a session have an impact on results.

The images here represent a “blue” period but I did experiment with yellow, orange, red and even a weird green/purple configuration.

© Dave Whenham

Not forgetting of course my diversion into Lego-World.

© Dave Whenham

More from the splash studio another time.

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