Sunday, January 19, 2014

Gelatinous Cubes and Water Drops

I like high speed photography, but I am limited to what I can do within my studio space and with the equipment I have.  So I usually focus on dropping things, this weekend it was gelatinous cubes and colored water. 

The gelatinous cubes were a new for me, and still require refinement to the gel composition.  I bought clear Knox gelatin and made two batches.  (I did add food coloring to the mix for contrast.) The first batch was a little mushy while the second batch was firmer like a Jell-O giggler.  The softer batch worked better, providing more deformity while tumbling and a better splat upon impact.  As I dropped the cubes and sphere I hit the shutter release button.  The squishy cubes lasted for about 10 drops depending on the height of the drop.  While the very firm sphere appeared indestructible.   I may try this again, possibly throwing the cubes against a wall instead of dropping them.


Firm Sphere Impact
Squishy Cube Impact

I have worked with water drops before. When I usually do these I fill a dish with water. Then hold a plastic Ziploc bag filled with water and food coloring with a hole over the dish and hit the shutter release. This is hugely a trial and error process.  Besides my usual process, I also tried just having the water drip directly onto a hard surface, this appeared to work nicely.  I then modified my drop mixture.  I added corn starch to the water in the baggie, this thickened the mixture. However, this also reduced the translucence of the drops.  The mixture appeared to produce better patterns, so I may try this with a gelatin mixture so I can keep the translucence of straight water.

Cornstarch Mix on hard surface
Water drop into pool of water
Water on hard surface

The set up for both shoots were as follows. I placed a clear sheet down on the table to protect it. I then stood white foam board on top of the table for the background.  I connected the plastic to white foam board sides to create side walls and to two stands to create a catch basin of sorts.  I then placed my camera with flash, macro lens and shutter release trigger on a tripod angled down towards the drop surface.  I used bounce flash technique for most of the shots.

Overall this was productive time in the studio. I like the water drop results but think the gelatinous cube shots need work.  

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