I was not completely happy with the water splash images I had created so decided to try and improve them.
In researching the topic I came across the work of Jaroslav Wieckzorkiewicz who generated a stunning series of splash photographs based on the classic pinup illustrations of Gil Elvgren but using liquid to “dress” the models, combining sometimes hundreds of frames to get a final result. (click Thumbnail to enlarge.)
The original series called Milky Pinups has been joined by a second series called “Splash Heroes” which uses coloured liquids to create images of classic Superhero characters.
Click here to read more about Jaroslav’s work and the process involved.
Reading this and various other articles they all stress the importance of even and consistent lighting which I had felt was a problem in the original shoot. The results this time were better although can still be improved and with more time will try using more lights to give more even coverage. The front of the image was illuminated by the in camera flash of my Canon 70D but this results in a reflection in the glass so would also like to try using a flash offset to one side to counter this.
I was originally going to use fruit again but discovered my wife had eaten most of my photo props (strawberries) for breakfast ! So there was only a limited no of photogenic strawberries available and after a few attempts they were looking a bit tired so I then decided to use a small toy train and fortunately had an attractive brandy glass (picked up in a charity shop for £2.40) which was large enough to drop it into.
The splashes were an improvement on the first attempt, the timing being much easier with practice. I had also purchased some artificial ice cubes from a well known auction site and found these worked much better than real ice because they don’t float like real ice cubes and thus do not interfere with the object landing in the water. I also added some food colouring to the water to improve the contrast in the final images.
Reviewing the images I decided to combine 3 images for the final composition, this because the best splash and clearest images of the toy train were different frames and I had always intended to merge the stem in to give the appearance of the glass floating in air.
Combined images :
The images were processed in camera raw, with adjustment to whites and selective adjustments to exposure and contrast particularly of the toy train and ice.In photoshop adjustment of levels, and masking two images at the rim of the glass deleting the glass from the splash photo and the glass from the splash photo so that they merged as seamlessly as possible.
The final merged image then had a high pass filter applied by duplicating the layer to add some punch to the final images.
Final Image (Toy Train)
Final Image (Strawberry)
Very similar processing to the brandy glass image without the complex masking as it’s a combination of just two images (the splash with glass and stem).
Overall I think these are much better quality than the original shoot, however they could be further improved. There is slight blur in the splash and this could be eliminated by using lower flash, possibly with multiple flash units i.e. so that the volume of light is similar but the duration is shorter i.e. two flashes at 1/8th power is same volume as 1 flash at 1/4 power but half the duration.