High-Speed Photography Captures Art In Drops Of Water

Jim Kramer uses strobes, water coloring, and high-speed photography to create works of art.

Jim Kramer is an amateur photographer, but his subjects aren’t waterfalls or cityscapes. He narrows his focus on a natural process that most of us see everyday but rarely take notice of. He captures the beautiful shapes found in drops of water. His palette is made up of water coloring, and he uses liquids like glycerol and dishwashing soap to alter the water’s consistency.

The Flickr photo has notes on Kramer’s setup, which one comment lauded as “technically impressing, creatively remarkable.” The images are taken against the frosted plexiglass backdrop panels. He uses seven Yongnua YN-560 strobes controlled by a strobe distribution box that allows up to eight strobes to be triggered simultaneously. And the drops of colored liquid fall from a Mariotte siphon that sits in the silver ring at the top of his setup. The height of the siphon can be changed. Right now it sits at a height of two feet above the water surface.

High-speed digital cameras capture beautiful shapes that result as droplets smack the water’s surface. He’s doing some really magical photography, just take a look at his High Speed Water Drop Collection. Admittedly off topic for us, but what a joy to look at, like the longterm exposures of Roomba Art. Many more pictures can be found on Kramer’s Flickr page. I’ve included Kramer’s own titles and descriptions of the images.

Edge Bleed: This is a glycol crown shot on black plexi with a single drop of red food coloring on one side of the drop zone.


Drop Collision: Red/Blue High Speed Water Drop Collision


Liquid Mercury: This is a glycol crown on a piece of partially water covered black plexiglass. It has a metal feel to me


Crowning Moment: The moment just before the formation of the crown. The disk on the bottom is the primer drop of glycol. The surface is black plexi. Lighting is from 4 Yongnuo YN-560's behind a piece of opaque white plexi.


Singing In The Rain: I can't seem to find the words to describe this one... I'm anxiously awaiting to hear the comments... I hope you love it as much as I do!



All the color in this shot comes from the gels. I used (2) Green, (1) Yellow, and (1) Blue on the backdrop strobes. In fact, this shot had the least amount of post of any shot in recent memory. I simply cloned out a couple stray drops, and did normal adjustments


Flammenco Danseuse: In this shot I intentionally created some waves in the drop tank prior to releasing the drops. I like the way the reflection is disturbed in this one. This is a triple drop collision shot, with the very beginning of the crown on top of the umbrella. Thanks RoyalDuck for the title (yet again!)


Four Color Crown: Same type of shot as the last one, this time 4 colors were used in the drop zone (red, green, yellow, and purple). Thanks for looking, commenting, and fav'ing my photos! I appreciate ALL! Somebody on Reddit mentioned that it looks like the Google Chrome logo exploded... I thought that was an interesting observation... it kinda does, doesn't it?


Red and Blue: I shot 3 strobes through a red background, and used blue gels over the front strobes for this shot. Getting enough light for the shot was tough, you lose a lot of light shooting through colors.

[image credits: IR Cincy Jim’s photostream via Flickr]
images: High Speed Water Drop Collisions

Peter Murray
Peter Murrayhttp://www.amazon.com/Peter-Murray/e/B004J3ONVQ/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Peter Murray was born in Boston in 1973. He earned a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore studying gene expression in the neocortex. Following his dissertation work he spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow at the same university studying brain mechanisms of pain and motor control. He completed a collection of short stories in 2010 and has been writing for Singularity Hub since March 2011.
Don't miss a trend
Get Hub delivered to your inbox