A Watery World

“Persistence, patience, and creativity.  These are the qualities I practice most often with water drop photography.  Photographing water drops is very challenging, but rewarding, because I am capturing something that happens too fast for our naked eye to see.  There is delicate beauty…and elements of surprise in each tiny, amazing water drop, that we can't see…but the camera captures it.  A perfect moment, frozen in time, to enjoy later. 

About the process:                                                                                    

The background and the drop are always one photo, not two photos combined.  This works in my favor, because the colors in the ripples will always perfectly match the background in the photo.  In my textured prints, such as "Love Lost" and "Glorious Day," I start with one photo--the background and water drop--then I work in Photoshop, adding words, texture and possibly other photos, layered on top of the original.

Except for my textured photos,  very minimal work is done in the digital darkroom (such as Photoshop).  I use a fast flash (about 10,000th of a second) to capture the motion of the drop, and spend between 4-6 hours on a photo shoot, taking at least a few hundred photos.  Of those I will set aside a handful of favorites.  I get only one photo per drop; the camera’s “fps” (frames per second) isn’t fast enough to catch more than one drop falling at a time.

Lately I have been creating tall water drops, called "Worthington jets."  Three photos with these jets are "the Great Unknown,"  "Girl Crush," and "Bird on the Water."  These jets are four to six inches tall, and are in the portrait, or vertical orientation.  They are often three drop collisions, rather than just two.  This is where the second water drop is closely following on the heels of the first drop.  The second drop reaches the pool of water, just as the first drop has created a crater in the pool, which then both water drops for a crown, and then shoot up into a column, very tall and fast, like a roller coaster.  The third drop then falls on top of both drops.  These are fun, as I get even more unusual drop shapes.  It often lands off kilter, creating all sorts of variations." -- Dana Murray, Drop Master