Friday, January 20, 2012

A flicker of strobe light in the dark
to capture moving objects in water

Lots of recent shoots to catch up with, and today, I'm going to go with the most recent one first. These are some fun shots I grabbed Wednesday when members of the Indiana Photographic Society got together for its weekly meeting at the Garfield Park Art Center in Indianapolis.

Wednesday was supposed to be tabletop day: Club members were to bring their cameras and any props they wanted to place on tables for them and anyone else to photograph in any creative manner imaginable. I totally spaced it; if I'd remembered this was what we going to do, I'd have brought my Canon 7D DSLR, but I forgot about the night's activity. However, I did bring along my Canon G12, so that's what I used. Club member Gary Nelson brought along an aquarium to drop objects into -- with lights off -- and pop flashes of artificial strobe light for us to capture the sinking objects in freeze-frame, much like he did recently then showed the club results in still images at a meeting two weeks ago. The objective was to use a very slow shutter speed -- 4 seconds or more. We'd all focus and lock it on the aquarium center before the room lights went off. When the room lights did go off, the objects would drop and Gary would quickly pop the flash, and we'd capture our freeze-frame in that nano-second of light. It would matter how long the shutter remained open after that; it was still dark, the camera had already taken the  picture, so it would be a matter of waiting until we heard the shutter close when we knew we'd have our picture.

There were seven or eight of us surrounding the aquarium, as Gary operated the flash, and instructed when the lights would be flipped off. Sylvia or he would drop the subjects/objects -- a baseball and some hollow plastic jewels -- into the water. Sylvia was a real trooper; she got her hands, arms and sleeves drenching wet fishing the objects out of the sundry repeat shots, so a big thanks to Sylvia for her key role in all this. And to Gary for making this interesting experiment possible.

The lead photo here was one of my favorites; Gary had used some force to make the ball's projection into the tank go faster than usual, and as you can see, it worked pretty well. The baseball is just about to hit bottom, and you can see the nice wake of its entry path. With the left-side angle that I had in the semicircle, I also was able to exploit a reflection on the left from the side glass panel.

Above: Gary used blue and red gels in separate drops to colorize the shots. My blue shot turned out pretty good. But I hadn't set up my camera quickly enough to grab a quality shot of the flash blast with the red gel.

Above and below: The plastic jewels close up, taken on the tabletop with a solid-color background, which is what we wanted to do primarily that night. The aquarium opportunity made for an enjoyable diversion.

1 comment:

  1. Extremely interesting photos!!! We'll have to see if Gary will do this for us at one of our meetings. Wondering about the color of the jewels in your blue photo... One of those meetings I bet you were glad you didn't miss!!!