Dropping water photography journey

  1. cuonghut Eclair Aug 7, 2019

    cuonghut, Aug 7, 2019 :
    Capturing moments for a valuable photo would be struggling sometimes, especially when you don’t travel too much or even lazily wander outside, searching for inspiration like me :D. So, I normally think if i want to be standout, i will able to do extraordinary that less people could. That’s why i chose Dropping water photography as my destination. After a tough period of time to try and fail, I’ve experienced so much things to share with you rather than just submitting couple photos within several captions. Therefore today, I share my shooting journey for #ShotOnOneplus contest in August to all the OP’s members who love photography like me. This is my very first time i write an article in our forum, any comment is appreciated. Hope you guys will find interesting tips and tricks then. It’s quite long so please be patient and enjoy it. Thanks.

    My inspiration is a tutorial that I've read for a long time ago. It said the alternative method for snapping a dropping water is setting long exposure (2-4s) in the totally dark environment then flash on the moment a drop landing on water surface. But, I didn’t have external flash (Flash is not allowed in Pro Mode, though), how come? OK, i manually used my table lamp as a replacement, it was hard to create the very short amount of flash just by clicking on the button. The myth is simply placing phone in stable position, setting exposure from 2-4s, pressing the capture button, flashing on when drop touching on surface (the amount of flash should be be real quick if you don’t want you photos overexposure or the drop blurred). It was really tricky to do it all by myself. Explanation: the sensor absorbs light through lens but it’s totally dark so there’s no light goes through it, your photo is all black; flash on, the objects reflecting the light and coming to the sensor; flash off, light has gone, sensor has nothing to do with; eventually, you got a photo of that moment flash on. And here is the result:
    Exposure time: 4s
    After more than an hour unachieving the satisfied photos, I intensively searched on Google but nothing relatable: all about some experts using DSLR within macro lens and a professional lighting system guide how to setup like those. I was mad and swore unstoppable without any reasonable results. And yes, I did, I got some stunning photos after exhausting process of try and fail, and here’s how i did it:

    1. Setup

    • Smartphone, ofc. Mine is OP5.
    • 1 cup filled full of water as landed place for drops.
    • A water bottle that punched a hole by a pin for frequent drops. I used my leaking shower for water source :).
    • A lamp or whatever light sources you can have.
    • A piece of colored paper for background.
    • Patience, as much as possible
    It depends on what you got around your house so you should be adaptive. My setup is below
    Big plastic bowl for storing water, placed on a an of washing liquid, light source is my table lamp raised on a basket, toothpaste as a focused object when shooting.
    One lightning tip is putting your light back of the water cup, opposite to your camera for the best result. I will illustrate the different results under various lightning conditions in the next part below to make it explainable.

    2. Performing

    Ok, here we go. Open your camera app. Here is the Stock Camera app on OP5 running OOS 9.0.7. I have examined both modes but i recommend Auto mode for flash control and continuous shooting feature.

    Manual focusing on smartphone is really easy to use compared to DSLR, just touch on the expected focus point, but the drips are inconsistent, so you need an object placed on the drop landing a focus model. I used toothpaste as you can see :))

    You should place your phone close to the drip as much as you can, reaching the focus limitation of your phone for better depth in result photos. And the continuous shooting feature actually saved my life because who knows when the drip landing to the base. So, use it if you don’t want to lose your time for irritation of timing. All you need to do is touch and hold on shooting button for 20 consecutive shots. One timing tip is when the drip nearly leaves the hole, hold your capture button because it’s going to drop really fast, you probably miss it if snapping later.

    Let’s do the first try. It can not be denied that your initial shots would not be expectable. But observing, calibrating light position, camera position, camera setting… would make it gradually better. Here are some of my initial best shots. As you can see, I changed a lot of things.

    At the first half, my method could be called Russian roulette style. It means that i just shot one by one, not continuously, flash on as the instruction for DSLR. And yes, the results were terrible as your thought, the proportion of appearing drip photos is 1/10, the others were just a flat water surface as the image below. After that, i turned off the flash for the faster shutter speed.

    Basically, the drip’s procedure could be seperated to 5 phases as my illustration below. Catching phase 2 or 4 is my purpose for the best visual effects.
    And eventually, after the significant hardless effort i spent, I earned some satisfaction. Everytime i got qualified pic, my heart pound so hard that i instantly checked it wether it was OK or not. You can look closely to those photos which are out of focus a bit.
    Matched to the phase illustrated above :D

    Lacking of lock AF on OP phone caused the out of focus on results. After i got rid of the focus model out, OP camera instantly changed the focus point which inconvenient and hard to control. Then, i install free reputed Camera FV5 application on Play store which allowed user manually change bunch of parameters but i just need locking AF feature.

    Professional UI but i just used lock AF feature by pressing the button circled red and baaaammmm, totally different results, sharp as hell.
    Like a crown





    Come back here - the giant said


    Worm hole on spatio-temporal surface

    Freezing time

    Woah, Elsa’s crown
    (To be continued in #2 b'cuz 20 pictures limitation)

  2. cuonghut Eclair Aug 7, 2019

    cuonghut, Aug 7, 2019 :
    But there is no perfect app qualified your requirement, Camera FV5 is not exception. While stock camera app is able to shoot 6-7 photos for a complete phases, Camera FV just makes it 2-3 photos. That is to say you will miss alot, decreasing your result close to the Russian roulette method at the first half. I hope Oneplus will include lock AF function in the future.

    When you are familiar with the operation, you can raise the tough level by adding drip, food coloring, switching the liquid to oil, acrylic painting or dropping the fruits instead… i was too tired after doing this so i just changed the camera’s angle like these:

    Really love this, absolutely sharp and crown shaped.

    I use this for my lockscreen wallpaper


    In terms of 2 drips, i hardly got this one among hundreds of failures.

    3. Conclusion

    This experiment consumed 2 days within 5 intensively working hours, 922 photos were created, about 10 or so satisfied photos but it’s worthy for all the experiences I got. There are actual limitations of camera but it doesn’t matter. It depends on what you can do or how you can push out beyond the limit. This reality emphasizes my thoughts again.

    If you have any comment, question...Please feel free to ask me in this thread. Thank you for reading so far, wishing you have excellent photos not only for contest but for yourself.

    I also put the link of my Google photos album for this experiment to demonstrate how intensity of my journey. Be careful to click, it’s a mess ;). Link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/FoVXvJiHizLyeH3X7.

    cdnfarmer, buntycubal, woSch and 4 others like this.
  3. panthimanshu Honeycomb Aug 7, 2019

    buntycubal, cuonghut and woSch like this.
  4. otto2 Lollipop Aug 7, 2019

    otto2, Aug 7, 2019 :

    @script . Great postings, should be moved to Photography / tutorials section ?

  5. panthimanshu Honeycomb Aug 7, 2019

    panthimanshu, Aug 7, 2019 :
    I agree... its great post and should be moved to Photography or tutorial section. :):)

  6. Bouncer71 Lollipop Aug 7, 2019

    Bouncer71, Aug 7, 2019 :
    Holy Moly...:eek:
    What a comprehensive, cool and inspiring Tutorial...!
    Proves once again that there's no need for Studio Equipment, just knowledge, creativity and endurance..;)
    Congratulations and very well done @cuonghut...!!!
    Thank you for the time and work you put into this...!

    I will definitely try this...!o_O

    buntycubal, TibiTibi, woSch and 2 others like this.
  7. cuonghut Eclair Aug 7, 2019

    cuonghut, Aug 7, 2019 :
    @panthimanshu @otto2 : thank you guys so much.

    @Bouncer71: thank you too and please tag me in your result whenever you upload it to Community

    P/S: OMG , my thread was moved to the Photography section!!!!! Can't believe it eventhough I've tried to post in this section before figuring out I don't have the permission

  8. Bouncer71 Lollipop Aug 7, 2019

    Bouncer71, Aug 7, 2019 :
    Will do... ! ;)

    Well deserved...!
    Welcome to the Club... :D

  9. O1565401462848 Cupcake Aug 10, 2019

    O1565401462848, Aug 10, 2019 :
    Wow that's crazy. You always see the final product but barely ever the work that goes into it. Thanks for displaying everything to see the production.

  10. sergiofcpaulino Cupcake Aug 10, 2019