When thinking of what, on the list of possible subjects, to post as the fourth in the Macro Matters series, I thought that ‘water droplets’ offered a link to the posts on wide-angle macro 1 and wide-angle macro 2 with a more tenuous one to An Italian Tale since there is an element of ‘recycling’ of material here (and we re-use much in Italy…).
I originally prepared this for my second macro book (Small things Big not my choice of title I might add and also published as Nature Photography Close-up) and then modified it as an article for OP…and, dusted it down, updated it and here it comes again. It’s a fun but fiddly technique and it might inspire others to experiment, too. The advent of digital technology makes it possible to be that bit more adventurous and it is also a bit of ‘trickery’ that relies on optics and not photoshop wizardry. In fact, at an exhibition we mounted locally Lois overheard someone saying that “that guy is pretty nifty with Photoshop” so she went over, chatted and gently disabused him of the notion… and thus we made friends with a local sculptor who makes enormous statues of classical Greek figures out of old motorbike and machine parts!
Imaging in droplets was one of those things I had thought about for a while, worked out the methodology and had then not really tried. In fact, the text and drawings were already off at the publisher when I thought I had better get some images. More ‘mature’ readers might remember a time when A-level physics had not been dumbed down (lawdy, that dates you) and you had to do calculations that involved surface curvatures, refractive indices and so on…perfect (more or less) for raindrops. With just a bit of mental arithmetic for reassurance I did not bother to try it out…pity. When I did set up I found that the image produced by the droplet was ‘in space’ just in front of the droplet by just a little too much. So…this became a depth of field challenge as well to get image and droplet in focus.
With a bit of persistence, it worked and now I am experimenting with stacked images and the amazing Helicon Focus software – more more on this very soon with the amazing Helicon Remote (check out some truly stunning imagery from the master of the technique Charles Krebs)
Have a very successful and satisfying 2010 and look for more on water droplet imaging here